The narrative being portrayed by the liberal media, BLM and the man that holds the Office of the President is that police are shooting black Americans because they consider them no more important than dogs. How else does the message make any sense? Their portrayal that black Americans are shot by police without provocation or that a police officer should be willing to die rather than defend themselves is not even logical. The recurring theme is that police officers do not care about black Americans. I would argue that they care more about black lives than most in the BLM movement.
I spent many years in a community that began changing thirty years ago. During that time, when people moved from an area that was changing, it was called “white flight”. Even then some were trying to portray the issue as black and white. As someone who lived in the community and also dealt with the problems on the front line every day, I was troubled by people who WANT to see everything by color. Martin Luther King, Jr. wanted people to be judged by their character and for color to be inconsequential. The forms we fill out, the surveys we take and the statistics we see every day keep directing us back toward our differences and not our common concerns.
It was not the color that drove people out of that community, it was the values that people had. My family lived across the street from some white “trash”. The kids were disrespectful, loud, rude and generally unlikeable. Also, one house over was a “black” family. I remember a conversation with that “black” neighbor about the obnoxious neighbor that he shared a property line with. He was troubled because he moved out of the bigger city to the suburbs to get away from people who did not share his values, like the “white” trash. We were great neighbors, all of us with the exception of the people who did not share our values. We thought that respect for other’s property, looking out for one another, keeping property values up and kind words spoken in the neighborhood were the important things from neighbors. We liked people who taught their children respect, to stay out of trouble and keeping the neighborhood a place of peace and safety. As the neighborhood changed, it was the values of the people who moved in that was a problem, not the color. I have worked with, lived with and been friends with all kinds of people. Rude, loud, disrespectful people who don’t care about what people think about them, who don’t care about their neighbors, their neighbors stuff or the neighborhood itself aren’t the kind of people anybody wants to live by. In fact, in most instances, it should have not been called “white flight” but “black flight” because in most cases the “black” Americans who moved out, moved out to get away from the values of the people they left behind.
One call that had a profound impact on me many years ago went like this. I remember going to a fight call between two black youths at the end of the street I lived on. While talking to witnesses, I found an older black man leaning on his rake. When I asked him what happened his statement was, “You know officer, I left B.H. (a nearby city he moved from) to get away from nig…s like this.” He explained that he thought moving to our city would allow him to be around people who shared his values.
I would often get complaints of racism from negligent parents or thugs who looked for an excuse to exonerate the arrested person. The facts did not support either their release or the racism charge. BLM wants to make a stand on people who are committing crimes or refuse to comply. Who are they helping?
If the police wanted to “kill” blacks all they would have to do is get out of the way.
The truth is that police officers of all different backgrounds run toward the violence and risk their lives every day to save the very people they are being told they hate. During violent crime investigations, officers are often met with an uncooperative victim who would rather protect a thug than help the police. What would possess a person to risk their lives to help people who don’t want help or run into violence to protect people they “hate”.
Police officers are humans. We see things that can never be removed from our memory yet move forward to help. Even today, when the ranks can’t be filled because of the portrayal of police to the public, the thin blue line goes to work and responds to the calls. To be accused of this type of hatred after what we do and see would make a lesser person crumble but not a police officer. They keep coming back.
All lives matter to the thin blue line and that is why we do what we do. It is not the bullying, the great pay or the violence and hate directed toward us. Cops are a special breed, selected to be willing and able to withstand adversity because of our deep love for humanity.
Let’s join ranks and become color blind by working on values that we all share. We should love our kids, our neighbors and our neighborhoods. There was a time in this country where we all shared in the values of Mark 12:30-31, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”
Tim Barfield is in his 35th year as a police officer. He started as a police officer in a rural village before transferring to an inner ring suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. He spent 32 years in that department gaining experience in many areas of police work. In 2014, he accepted a position as police chief for another department. He is a husband, father and grandfather who has a love for police work and police officers with a goal of helping them succeed in a great profession. His responsibilities and desires have included patrol, traffic, DARE, SWAT, training and supervision. He is a member of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association. He continues to learn and instruct on subjects with an emphasis on awareness, police survival mindset and ethics.