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Letter: Are we willing to put on the police uniform? If not, let’s be more supportive

SHARE Letter: Are we willing to put on the police uniform? If not, let’s be more supportive
Letter to the editor

Deseret News

I will be the first to acknowledge that police reforms need to be made. Several years ago, while waiting for acceptance to graduate school in social work, I took a job with a local police department as a youth officer/counselor. My role was to assist youth involved in status offenses to make restitution without going through the court system.

During that year, I watched many enthusiastic, dedicated, community minded individuals come into the force with the goal of serving and protecting others. Because police officers spend 90% of their time dealing with 10% of the population, which are for the most part non-law-abiding citizens who do not welcome or appreciate their intervention, they tend to become discouraged and struggle to maintain the positive attitude that brought them to the force. 

During my year of service, I was a plainclothes officer driving an unmarked car. The first time I was yelled at and called a “pig” while trying to assist a school in restoring order, I questioned how long I could endure the job and still help others. I was relieved when I received my acceptance to graduate school and could pursue a career where I could help others without being negatively labeled for the clothes I wore or the vehicle I drove. 

After spending only a year in law enforcement, I grew to love, appreciate, admire and respect the majority of those I served with. We need to ask ourselves, “are we willing to wear the uniform to make the changes we seek?” If not, let’s be more supportive of those who do.

Gary Martin