BLOG: The Rise of Hopelessness in Law Enforcement

This week, I listened to a tragic yet inspiring story from iconic radio host Glenn Beck. Glenn may be one of the last few voices of reason left in this country. During his moving recount of a family tragedy, he drew a correlation that I had not realized before. You know the moment when you hear something that resonates with a feeling you have had and finally provides you the words to say the reality that you have been living. This was that moment for me. Mr. Beck spoke about the loss of hope and its correlation to the loss of truth. 

As a Law Enforcement Officer, this struck a chord deep inside me. I have been struggling yet again. Struggling somewhere deep down inside. Struggling with what I can only classify as a loss of hope. Now before I go on, let me be clear I work for a great agency in a great county, in a great state, with numerous resources for those who are struggling. However, as a writer and someone inspiring to be a speaker, I think and feel things differently. I take a birds-eye view that is much broader than my personal circumstance and instead look at the profession as a whole. I have been struggling with describing the last few weeks and what this loss of hope looks like, feels like, and how and why it started.

Hope is not something to take lightly. It is ingrained in us as humans, as Christians, as Americans. Regardless of where you fall along the spectrum, hope is core to your outlook on the world. We believe inherently tomorrow is going to be better. If we take the steps that we should take today, work a little harder, love a little deeper, invest a little more, tomorrow can and will be better. It is core to how we grew as a country, core to the American dream, and core to why we even get out of bed in the morning. Hopelessness is what we attribute to countries where its political ruling class squash the dreams of its citizens through an iron-fisted rule. Our desire for hope is why the doors to this country have always been open to legal immigration. It is why the rescue of those in despair worldwide is key to who we are as a people. 

We believe inherently tomorrow is going to be better. If we take the steps that we should take today, work a little harder, love a little deeper, invest a little more, tomorrow can and will be better.

The desire to provide hope is why I am a law enforcement officer. It is core to who I am. I want to give hope to the beaten spouse who feels there is no option for her safety. I want to provide hope to those who have lost loved ones. I want to give hope to those who are victims and repeat victims of all manner of crimes. I want to provide hope because we cease as a people without it, we fall apart as a society, and ultimately our nation will crumble. America’s greatness is primarily because of this principle; it is rooted in her ability to give hope to countless generations worldwide. 

After listening to the excerpt from Glenn Beck, I realized the source of my hopelessness. I had not mentally tied together with the start of desperation as being rooted in a lack of truth. This was a revelation that I knew was instantly true. That is the thing with fact; we often inherently realize it. It speaks to us deep in our soul no matter what so-called experts claim or the lies they perpetuate. There are many examples that I could share on this topic. If you are like me, you will start to see the patterns across all parts of our society currently under attack. For the purpose of this writing, I want to keep this specific to law enforcement. 

We see lies, half-truths, and misleading rhetoric on almost a daily basis as it relates to the job of law enforcement. These statements aim to ungird the foundation of law and justice in this country rather than strengthen it. Story after story looks solely at law enforcement officers’ response to an incident from the position of an armchair quarterback wholly removed from the situation and often from a preconceived agenda. This is not to say that they are not instances where officers have made mistakes or crossed the line, and they should be held accountable. However, thankfully these situations are scarce and have little to do with common reactions to law enforcement-citizen interactions that we are talking about. In most cases, reality has had nothing to do with the public narrative and response to some of these incidents in quite some time. This lack of reality is, in its essence, a lack of truth. 

We hear these false narratives over and over again, and one of two things happens. Either you are a citizen with little to no understanding of law enforcement’s role, tactics, and procedures. In this camp, you may be persuaded to start giving into these narratives because you begin to think, well, they keep saying it over and over again. There must be some “truth” to it. 

On the other side are those of us who see the incident based on our experience. As we hear the same divisive and false rhetoric over and over, we begin to lose hope. We begin to see the public opinion sway against those who put their lives on the line daily to keep the community safer. As that happens, something begins to change deep inside of us. We begin to question why we continue to work in this profession. We ask whether or not the risk is worth it and, more importantly, whether the risk is worth the possible effects on our families and loved ones. 

See, this is a great danger and inevitable destruction of our way of life. When we allow untruth to dominate our narrative, it will create hopelessness for those towards whom it is directed. Law enforcement will lose hope, and in all honesty, many of us have. The next step, which we already see on a national scale, is those who can leave will leave. The problem is that those who don’t go will likely be because they cannot escape, thus perpetuating this feeling of hopelessness. 

When we allow untruth to dominate our narrative, it will create hopelessness for those towards whom it is directed.

Now, this may not mean anything to you yet. In fact, you may even think, “well, why do I care if a bunch of cops quit their job?” In fact, you may even be naive enough to believe that, “well, when all these cops quit, we will just change the system.” I have to ask, though, what are you changing the system to? What is the foundation on which it will be built? True justice? Blind justice? Have you thought about what happens when you change out a profession from those who have a mission of providing hope to the hopeless to those who need a paycheck from the government because of the inevitable collapse from these policy changes? 

This is not just a question for cops. This is not just an issue with my personal angst of feeling hopeless because of a constant false narrative being bought into by the American public. No, this will affect you, regardless of where you are on the political spectrum or your religious beliefs. 

Police are not perfect. We each have our own demons, our own struggles, our own fears, and we suffer our own losses and setbacks. However, what is core to so many good officers that I encounter every day is hope. Hope that tomorrow will be better; if we try a little harder, we can create a better future not just for ourselves but also for our nation. 

This is the truth. It is actual truth grounded in facts and evidence at all levels of law enforcement. I encourage you that before you give in to the false narratives, rash judgments, and factless claims that permeate social media and the so-called news. Please consider, first and foremost, is what I am being told anchored in truth? If it is not, please denounce it for the evil that it is and determine to hold tight to the truth. It is the only way to provide hope to a profession, a nation, a world so desperately wishing for it. 

This Blog Post Appeared first at OnTheBlueLine.com. All Rights Reserved. 2021

Leave a Reply