Just the facts on police work

To the Editor:

Saturday morning’s Opinion article (“Protectors needed, not armed warmongerers [sic],” by Ryan Quinlan) made me laugh, until I realized the young man was serious!

He actually seems to believe that police officers should face machine guns and high explosives while basically unarmed and unprotected. Perhaps he has never read about how many more police officers are injured and/or killed in confrontations with “peaceful demonstrators,” or how even U.S. senators are now calling for mob violence against those whom oppose their policies?

Yes, there are “Barneys” on every police force — people who join the force so they can push others around — but most of those wearing the badge are trying to do the best that they can. They do make mistakes, and most overpay for those mistakes!

Police work is dangerous and often frightening. If you have never walked through a hopefully deserted building at three in the morning, and felt the relief that comes from finding it just a case of an unlocked door, you cannot understand what it is like! The best definition of police work I’ve ever heard is, “Hours and hours of unalleviated boredom, punctuated by brief seconds of sheer terror!”

It ain’t like on TV, son! Kevlar is wonderful stuff, but it is useless against head wounds and high explosives, and because too many departments overuse their SWAT teams, doesn’t mean they aren’t needed!

The kind of work I did as an Army cop is nothing like police work today, and in smalltown America, like we have here, you won’t see the kind of action you get in New York, but ask your local police chief for a “ride-along” to get the feel of the job. It will not be all of the reality, but at least you won’t be totally ignorant of some of the facts.

— Tom Fenner