Why Is Everyone Afraid of the Police?

It has finally come clear to me. Police only interact with people in negative ways. Police are there to enforce the law and I understand and appreciate what they do in that respect…but do they have to be nasty when there’s no criminal available? Could an officer maybe smile at a kid? Not in my experience.

Example: I’m taking the kids to the Virginia International Tatoo in Norfolk. We park and walk a few blocks, passing by about 8 police officers on the way. I smile and say, “Hi,” to each of them. Most just ignore me, the one who makes eye contact just frowns and looks threatening.
My 7 year old daughter is terrified of police officers. I have tried telling her that they are the good guys. The police are here to help us when we need help. The police are here to enforce the laws. I tell her: You know our friends X and Y? They are both police officers. This does not help at all. X is great and funny, Y is grumpy and fractious. They cancel each other out.
Example: When I was 7 months pregnant I called the police to help because 2 Rottweilers were attacking and apparently killing my goat and my pony. After waiting for the police to show and suspecting they wouldn’t (not a rarity as they often did not respond to calls such as this) my husband grabbed his pistol and headed for the barn. The police showed up, disarmed my husband and held us while they ‘rescued’ the dogs who continued to attack my livestock for the duration. After about 20 minutes I said I’m going to get my cell phone and call the vet. I started for the truck where my cell phone was. The police officer pulled his gun and held me at gunpoint until the other officer caught the dogs and Animal Control arrived to put them into a truck. I was not allowed to check my animals nor was I allowed to call the vet. Absolutely no consideration was given by those officers for my livestock, for my (very pregnant) self, or my husband. We were treated like criminals, despite having called to ask for their assistance. Eventually their Sgt. appeared, saw that we were being held at gunpoint and apologized profusely for the lack of professional behavior and ran the two officers off our property.

This was terrifying to me. I was PREGNANT and held at gunpoint for the crime of hoping to save the life of my goat.
I think that police officers need to do a bit of PR work. Okay, a LOT of PR work in order that normal people, people who do not commit crimes beyond speeding a little or drinking beer on the front porch, might actually trust them a little. It’s not by chance that so many of us feel as though the officers we admire from afar are really freaking scary when we have to interact with them in person. Even if it’s only to say, “Hi.”

About Bettina Colonna Essert

Illuminated Magdalene High Priestess and facilitator of empowerment and healing circles for girls and women, including a monthly Red Tent Temple. BA in English, minor in anthropology. Waldorf homeschool mom. Reiki master, cranial sacral therapist, herbalist, menstruvist, feminist, epicurian.
This entry was posted in activism, children, decency, health and well-being. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Why Is Everyone Afraid of the Police?

  1. bnmng says:

    At least the Sergeant's behavior indicates that you had been wronged, but what an such an outrageous story! The PR work you suggest would cost money. We don't want to waste money on such unimportant missions as better training for cops.

  2. bnmng says:

    .. Despite my sarcasm, I think that most of these guys become cops to do the right thing. But a new cop has a lot of responsibility, a lot of power, and little life experience. He/She needs a lot of training. (I assume "new" because of the sergeant).

  3. Cerwydwyn says:

    You're right, the two officers who responded to the Rottweiler attack were new.I just wish that we didn't feel fear of the officers who mostly do their job because they want to help people. I know that there are also power hungry jerks there but it seems unfair to most of us that those people somehow completely alter the way we 'commoners' interact with the police.

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