Letter to the Editor

printed 06/25/2021

Editor:

It’s how others see us around the country that counts when it comes to policing.

That was the theme of the commentary that appeared in last week’s edition of OC Today. That theme is premised upon a belief that what the rest of the country actually sees is unfiltered, unbiased and void of selective editing.

The reality is that for the purposes of advancing subjective, inflammatory narratives that whip up frenzied reactions from like-minded followers, much of the media and a proliferating number of activists and partisans charge into a diatribe without knowledge of facts or understanding of circumstances.

For them every situation, every circumstance. is conveniently manipulated and edited to align with their virulent narratives. The hell with facts, full steam ahead.

Law enforcement should not be expected to play to the camera. When they are doing their jobs properly, they cannot second-guess themselves.

When they are in the moment, a lapse of attention could have horrendous results. Conversely, if individuals are behaving properly and following the law, they must have nothing to fear from law enforcement.

Law enforcement officers as well as those they serve and come in contact have a responsibility to act respectfully to one another.

When individuals decide to take provocative and hostile actions toward the police, the police must act accordingly to end the situation and restore order. That’s what is expected of law enforcement.

The men and women who achieve the honor of wearing the badge should be held in esteem not contempt. Society desires to feel safe and be safe. We look to law enforcement to accomplish this.

There is no room in law enforcement ranks for ill-tempered, ill-trained, bigoted personnel. And just as true as that statement, so true is this: most law enforcement personnel are dedicated, well-meaning, fair-minded public servants who day in and day out uphold the oath they swore: to protect and serve.

Their lives and their wellbeing are put in jeopardy each time they respond to a call or encounter an uncertain situation. They and their families have every right to expect they’ll return home safe at the end of each shift.

Far too many times the media, commentators, social media influencers and self-absorbed politicians assert assumptions that sizzle and crackle provocatively in the minds and attitudes of their followers.

They castigate the actions and motivations of police officers, most of the time without knowing facts. They empower their arguments with selective and edited clips of police actions.

There is no way law enforcement officers will ever convince these firebrands that they, the officers, are doing their jobs properly.

That’s why it’s preposterous to suggest law enforcement must preen for every camera held by a passerby or news crew to do so.

They should be allowed to do their jobs to the best of their abilities to serve and protect all of us. And when and if the facts, not innuendo or emotion, demonstrate that an officer is abusive or negligent or worse, that officer must be held accountable.

The media et al. delude themselves into believing they are fair and honest news and information brokers. This is not the case for a good many of them.

If it were, why were their cries of outrage not heard over the tragic events involving Cpl. Keith Heacook?

Instead of asserting that law enforcement alter their actions to make nice to appease demagogues, maybe those individuals who are unable to follow the law should consider visiting some place other than Worcester County.

Chip Bertino

Worcester County Commissioner

Ocean Pines

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