An off-duty police officer’s shirt perfectly summarized his job in just a few words, but the message that it displayed is sure to upset some. It’s brutally honest, to say the least, but is it wrong?
An image of a presumed off-duty police officer in a bold, blue shirt tends to circulate on social media every time there is an anti-cop narrative on the rise. Although the details behind the shirt and the man wearing it are unknown, the message on the tee makes it clear how he feels about police work, and that’s likely why it often goes viral, posted as a meme on various social media sites.
When the debate about alleged police brutality and use of force kicks up after an officer-involved incident gains national attention, a cop’s job is often called into question. What is their responsibility to the public? According to the presumed police officer’s shirt, it’s to protect you. It’s the last three words on the shirt, however, that people might not like.
After declaring that an officer’s job is “to protect your” backside, the brutally honest shirt boldly adds, “not kiss it.” And, it’s easy to understand why such sentiments become quite popular among police and those who support them when the anti-cop narrative begins to rise across the country. Of course, those with an anti-police mindset are likely to find the message “offensive,” but is it really?
Public service — whether that be police, corrections, healthcare, paramedics, firefighters, or even education — can often be difficult do to unreasonable expectations from the public you’re trying to serve. This is especially true for law enforcement since they are also putting their life on the line while on duty and forced to make split-second decisions.
What’s more, it seems to be the one career where one rotten apple ruins the whole bunch, so to speak, causing the group as a whole to come under fire after one bad cop goes too far. As cliche as it may sound, there really are bad people in every field. Law enforcement, however, seems to be the only career where all those in it are held accountable for the actions of a very few.
Making matters worse, criminal suspects are given the benefit of the doubt before a trained police officer, who was doing his or her job, when things go wrong. Automatically, the officer’s intentions are called into question as he or she is accused of racism and even murder. Meanwhile, many are quick to defend the criminal who caused the cop’s need to act, even before the facts of these cases are known.
This vicious cycle causes hate, the targeting of law enforcement, and even demands for a complete overhaul of their job duties — or, worse, calls for their murder from anti-cop extremists. With some suggesting that police could be easily replaced by social workers, who “talk things out” with potentially violent criminals, it’s easy to understand why this particular shirt’s sentiment is popular. It’s absolutely right.
“Law enforcement officers are commissioned to keep citizens safe 24 hours a day and seven days a week. The duties of police carry a great deal of risk, but many people pursue a career as a police officer because they feel a moral calling to protect and serve others,” Chron explains. “The primary duty of a police officer is to protect people and property.” And, the job comes with its fair share of risks:
The job of a police officer is risky, and officers incur a higher rate of illnesses and injury than the national average for other jobs. Officers spend a great deal of time working with criminals and dealing with threatening scenarios, such as intervening in a domestic assault or foiling a burglary. As a result, the possibility of conflicts and physical injury exist when attempting to apprehend a suspect. Many of the risks associated with a law enforcement career can be minimized by police officers following proper procedures.
While connecting with the community and building a relationship with those they serve is important, it’s simply not the main duty of a law enforcement officer. And, if you’re ever in need of a cop, you’ll be glad he or she isn’t busy kissing someone’s backside, but rather there to get the job done and save you from whatever threat that caused you to call for his or her help in the first place.
Some might think that law enforcement needs to be softer on suspects, but their minds will quickly change if they become the victim of such emboldened criminals. At that point, they’ll hope the officer responding to their call is tough on crime. Can you imagine watching them kiss up to a criminal instead? We’d be rightfully disgusted and want to see them do what we pay them to do — protect law-abiding citizens. And, you don’t need to kiss anyone’s backside to do that.