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An open letter to the Colfax Police Dept.

Published: Tuesday, July 2, 2013 11:25 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, July 17, 2013 4:53 p.m. CDT

I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you to the members of the Colfax Police Department who helped me out over this past weekend.

You see, as a young 20-something, I am part of a generation that has been raised with a negative disposition to police officers. It’s nothing against them or what they do, but somehow while we were growing up, my generation developed a ‘they’re only out to get us’ mentality.

It was hard for me to fully grasp and comprehend the positive benefits of the police force, the good work that they do within the community, and the fact that these individuals, like military personnel, sign up for their duty with the understanding that they might someday have to risk life and limb for someone else’s benefit.

Rather than realizing this, my generation is gripped in paranoia when we’re confronted by police officers. Whether I was up to no good, or not, when I used to see a police officer I would instinctually freeze up and feel as though I was only a few minutes away from a cage. It’s easy to look back on it and laugh, but I would posit that many adults still get a similar feeling when they’re driving and they see a row of lights come up behind them, even if they’re 5 miles below the speed limit and doing no harm.

I’m not sure where these negative feelings towards the police begin for us. I look around and I see positive outreach everywhere. I saw the Baxter police department at a library early-reading event, giving out toys and joking with the kids while they explained some common sense safety tips. T.V. shows are inundated for the most part with positive portrayals of officers despite being a bit more grisly and violent than they are in reality.

Even the news is full of public relations stories for police officers. While you might see a story on a corrupt officer from time to time, those stories, just like the officers themselves, are well outnumbered by the number of instances in which these public servants step forward to do good or save lives.

So, I’m not sure where I got my negative disposition towards the police, but I can happily report that it is something that I find myself growing out of. I no longer envision someone out to get me, but instead I can see the true public service benefit of the police force.

So again, I would like to take this chance to thank not only the Colfax Police Department, but all of the police officers across Jasper County.

The next time you folks are faced with some ungrateful ‘young punk’, I hope you can realize that kid is going to grow up and out of his attitude someday.

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