Police Brutality: Through An Officer’s Eyes

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Sadly over the years, we have observed many instances of police brutality. By the end of the year there are way too many to even remember. When these things happen we question if we should really trust police officers anymore. Lots of these cases are contradictory and when one happens, we always know we can instantly turn to the media for information and certainly their opinions.  The internet shows us videos and provides the world with many articles that give examples of unarmed people being shot, police officers using excessive force, and some cases with misconduct from both sides.We see questions like “Why does this happen? Why do people do this? What was that officer thinking?” Their training is questioned and people wonder what qualifications it even takes to fill their positions. We usually only hear social media’s side of things so we turned to a person who works in this field daily and can explain things from a personal level.

Officer Lee Hall has been involved with law enforcement for about nineteen years. When he attended Troy University, he took some electives in Criminal Justice and he also had family members who had been involved in this work force, this helped him choose his path in the career that he works in today. He has worked in four different departments of law enforcement. He first started at Troy Police Department, he then moved home and began working with Brewton Police Department, later he became an investigator at Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, and he has currently done twelve and a half years with the state for Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles. His responsibilities as a probation and parole officer consists of supervising felony offenders, such as murderers, robbery cases, and people who struggle with drugs, that have been released from prison. He has to make sure they are in compliance with the rules and requirements made by the court or parole board. If these people do not follow the rules, it is reported to make an arrest and conduct an investigation for the court and parole board. For his training he had to attend police academy for thirteen weeks, must have twelve continued education hours per year, attends firing range, and his current position requires a four year degree. The biggest impact law enforcement has made in his life is just the ability to help people and to see people change. He loves seeing people achieve what they have been working towards and seeing them be able re-enter society as a productive person. When he used to work shift work, he missed out on a lot of time with his family. He was gone at night, usually worked weekends, and missed lots of holidays. He really enjoys his work and says it is a really rewarding job.

When it comes to the world’s perception of law enforcement, he believes it is definitely more negative than positive compared to how it used to be in the past. He stated “I blame that pertly on social media, it’s somewhat misconstrued, but I don’t think everyone feels this way especially the people in our community. I disagree with the negative perception. There is good in bad in any job. Officers do make mistakes and are often second guessed sometimes when they have to make split decisions.” Office Hall does not believe that he has ever faced discrimination because of his profession. He also said that he does not know any fellow officers have racially profiled someone or been discriminatory because of someone’s background. “I have worked with hundreds of officers from many different backgrounds and races and I’ve never seen anyone singled out nor have I ever seen an officer make a decision based off of someone’s race.”

In certain locations, he believes that racial profiling is definitely a real thing. Social media has not affected personally how he feels about his job, but he knows it has changed the public’s view. He says that people who work in law enforcement are misunderstood and some things are taken out of context. Although he does not let social media affect how he feels about the job, the recent events of brutality still affect him greatly. The officers are more cautious to protect people’s rights, some are more professional, and they are more conscious of what they say and how they act. When asked how he felt about the recent events of brutality and riots around the world, he said that they needed to be addressed. “When an officer is wrong, he’s wrong and needs to be charged or dealt with. Also, more training should take place to prevent these things from happening.”

Officer Hall says the one thing he wants everyone to know about police officers is “Most law enforcement officers just want to help. They sacrifice time with family and friends, sacrifice safety, and put their lives on the line in order to protect themselves and others. They are there to help others. Most of them want to do what is right and want to be there when people need them. Majority are good people.” Police brutality is devastating and we should all stand against it, but usually all we do is take sides in argue. When wanting to solve a problem like this it is important that unite together, communicate, and listens to both side’s views. We should love our law enforcement and we love each other.  

Works Cited

Haag, Matthew, et al. “Police Brutality, Misconduct and Shootings.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 10 Sept. 2018, www.nytimes.com/topic/subject/police-brutality-misconduct-and-shootings.

 

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