What do police think?

Police officer weighs in on views of cops and what can be done

Melissa Bushong, Reporter

Do you think the current events involving and against police officers has changed how you feel about the public?
Officer Mike DeHart: Not at all. There have always been good and bad people in society and now is no different. Violence against police officers is extremely high from the past. This isn’t the case at all. In fact, our overawwwll rate of in the line of duties deaths is not as high as in the 70s and 80s. The media coverage as well as social media gives this perception. We have had some tragic events, but there have been much worse years. My view has always been that it’s a dangerous occupation, but to me that’s part of the lure of it. I enjoy serving and part of the serving is the possibility of sacrificing.
Do you feel this has affected the general atmosphere within the department?
Somewhat. The newer officers haven’t known any different times, so to them it’s the worse thing they have seen. It can definitely hurt morale but in the end the officers choose to serve regardless of their morale.
Have any procedures or protocols had to be changed because of these recent events?
None have changed. With a large agency comes great experience. For example I think every officer needs a body cam. That’s tough to finance with 1,700 cops. Smaller agencies are in a better position for things like this. But for us, really nothing has occurred to change what we are doing.
Have you had any personal or first hand experience with violence against police officers?
Sure, I had a very close friend murdered  in the line of duty. It was definitely life changing in many ways. I think of him so often and it only instilled in me I’m in the right line of work.
Do you think any negative views on police are justified?
Absolutely. We are no different than any other occupation. We have bad cops out there. With technology today it’s easier for citizens to catch bad behavior on video, which i am fine with. It still is not the majority. Cops are people and fall short and at times do the wrong things. A higher standard is expected in behavior and I totally agree with. Again, it’s not all the majority but i know it exists.