Magazine article Law & Order

In Praise of Police Officers: Police Officers Are Community Helpers

Magazine article Law & Order

In Praise of Police Officers: Police Officers Are Community Helpers

Article excerpt

My respect for police officers did not start with seeing and admiring their heroic actions on 9/11. When I began teaching school, the social studies curriculum had a unit that focused on the vital community helpers. It included police. There is a lot of negative press about the police today, but my experiences have always been positive. I still believe what I taught my students long ago: Police officers are first and foremost community helpers.

Through the years, my only extended close encounters were with one officer. "Officer Bob" taught the DARE program to our fifth graders. Due to his kind demeanor and jovial spirit, my students always looked forward to seeing him, wildly greeting him in the halls. They listened attentively in class when he taught about the dangers of drugs. He shared how the use of them had a tragic impact on his brother's life.

Another positive encounter with a police officer occurred a few years ago on a cold winter day. He came to my rescue when my car was stuck in a snowdrifton the side of a busy road. My wheels wouldn't budge. AAA had many calls that day, but thanks to the officer's description, they prioritized their response to my predicament. Soon a serviceman arrived with a tow truck and managed to get all four wheels of my car back on the road.

Then last year, I saw flashing red lights in my rearview mirror. I obediently pulled over though I truly didn't know why I had been stopped. The officer explained I had crossed a solid white line. …

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