By: Morganne Gibbs
In today’s American news, there is no doubt that law enforcement officers’ actions make a majority of the headlines. From “Pigs in a blanket; fry them like blanket” to “Police lives matter,” the opinions of Americans are diverse and conflicted when concerning law enforcement officers and their actions. Nearly dozens of law enforcement officers have been shot and killed while on duty during the month of August 2015. The causes of this unbelievable violence began nearly a year ago when a young man named Michael Brown was shot and killed by a law enforcement officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Since then multiple deaths of mainly African-Americans deemed unnecessary by some Americans have made the headlines. With this, some Americans are asking for justice for those harmed by law enforcement officers. A campaign called Black Lives Matter has been the main rally for protest against America’s protectors, claiming that they feel more provoked than protected and that racism fuels police brutality more than any other factor. Most of these protests have been peaceful, but some of these protests have been violent such as protestors overturning cars and setting hometown stores on fire in Ferguson, Missouri. Some protestors, though not confirmed to be aligned with Black Lives Matter, are informing police agencies that any officer seen in uniform will be shot, as seen with a call to the Aurora Police Department in Colorado this week. Now this is not to say that the Black Lives Matter supporters believe police officers should be killed while on duty or are the ones doing the killing, but this demonstrates how strongly a small minority of anti-police Americans feel for their cause.
There is no doubt that a solution must be reached soon. With violence on the rise and many sheriff’s offices and police departments being understaffed due to officers feeling too threatened in order to perform their jobs every day, the need for America’s protectors to be able to fulfill their shifts is apparent. Some have suggested a law requiring officers to wear body cameras recording at all times while on duty could make citizen’s feel more comfortable and provide proof of whether an officer’s actions are necessary or unnecessary during civilian encounters. Another solution could be for the public to become more educated about the everyday duties that law enforcement officers perform. Most police departments and sheriff’s offices offer a public education program, such as a Citizen’s Academy, in order for citizens to be more knowledgeable about the duties and actions of their local enforcement agencies.