A blue uniform isn’t always a red flag.

redflagI was pretty late driving back home last Thursday night after tending to my grand-baby. To top it off, I knew there was no milk or fruit in the house for my dad to have a decent breakfast the next morning. Rather than go all the way to the grocery store in the dark, I pulled into the well-lit Quik Trip in my neighborhood for the few things I needed, and ended up parking right next to a cop car.

Our cars ended up thisclose, so I looked over at the two officers and waited for them to back out of their parking space. I’m not a skinny girl, and the last thing I wanted to do was hit their door while getting out. Looked like they were having a discussion, so I waited.

I wasn’t in a hurry, so it wasn’t a big deal.

Finally, they noticed me watching them and immediately began backing out. As I was getting out of my car, Officer 2 on the passenger side (with his window down) gave me a nod and said, “Sorry about that, ma’am.”

I replied, “No problem. I didn’t want to dent your door and catch a case.”

He laughed, and then said, “It’s my partner’s fault, actually. He was saying we should see how long we could hold you up.”

Officer 1 behind the wheel looked so incredulous at that, I cracked up. “That’s not true! Ma’am, don’t believe this clown.” By that time, all three of us were laughing.

Officer 2: “Just making a joke at his expense, ma’am. You be careful, and be safe.” I waved, they waved, and off they went.

SUV-HeavyStan

Thinking back over the exchange saddens me a little. Why? Because there are decent policemen in this country who are being stained by the conduct of questionable ones, and that is an awful thing. Turning on a news broadcast today usually means seeing yet another report about police brutality or misconduct somewhere in the States. Public outrage comes swiftly whenever it happens, and it should, don’t get me wrong. But I also think we should be just as outraged when the shoe is on the other foot, and we don’t seem to be.

I remember a time here when it was open season on cops. An officer would stop a car to warn the motorist about a broken tail light or a stop sign they’d run, and the second he walked up to the driver’s window, he was shot point blank in the chest. It went on for a while. Wives lost husbands, kids lost fathers, families lost their provider, and the rest of the country couldn’t have cared less. It didn’t even make the national news.

In the past when I’ve had to depend on an officer for help, protection, or fair treatment, I have been very fortunate and never let down. A world without cops standing between us and the criminal element would be unlivable, let’s be frank. I know as well as anyone that there are bad cops and plenty of them, and I’m not defending them with this post. I’m simply saying that guilt by association isn’t the way to go here.

Take a moment to think before you condemn. A blue uniform isn’t always a red flag.

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