While growing up in the 60s in Columbus, Ohio, I didn’t talk to strangers about my dad, Glade Reeder, who was a policeman because they were being called “pigs” in my world, and I didn’t want to be known as the “pig’s daughter.”
In my house, Dad would not even allow the word “cop.” He and his cohorts were to be called police officers. But even my dad said (when asked about police brutality), “Every organization has bad eggs.” Dad, however, was a compassionate giant of a man and never shot anyone. He would go out in the middle of the night to help people–off duty. Yet, my poor mom knew he could be killed at any moment, just for his job description.
Of course, people deserve to not be afraid of the police uniform and police absolutely deserve our respect. It is not the job for a weak heart, and predictably, my dad had a massive heart attack, which forced him to retire earlier than he wished. A scuffle in a bar was the last thing his heart could handle.
This fear and distrust between the police and the so-called general public will only create bigger problems. Shame on news agencies that flame this delicate issue either way. What we need is a fairer judicial system and solutions for the mentally ill. I lived in NYC when President Reagan shut down all the mental institutions and basically dumped thousands of crazy people on the streets, some on my block! Not much has changed.
Police can’t fix these larger societal issues, yet they are the ones bearing the brunt of the violence in our homes, on the streets and in our neighborhoods. Who are you going to call in the middle of the night if a burglar is breaking into your house?
Bless all the good police officers and all the families of police officers that put up with this strain on a daily basis, while the rest of us drive through Starbucks and complain. The police are us, all colors, all nationalities, and most are good men and women trying to serve and protect.
This week and every day I honor all the good people who have died while wearing a police uniform.