The following article was reccently posted in the Jacksonville Journal-Courier:
Editorial: Nothing ‘routine’ about the dangers police face every day
It’s an oxymoron that ranks right up there with “act naturally” or “government assistance.”
But it’s heard so often when talking about the work of police officers.
There is nothing routine about the unseen and unexpected dangers facing law enforcement officials.
Every. Single. Day.
Sadly, situations such as what happened Wednesday in the metro Des Moines, Iowa, area are growing in frequency and vile. First, a police officer from Urbandale, Iowa, Justin Martin, was gunned down while sitting in his patrol car. A Des Moines officer responding to a nearby call — Sgt. Anthony Beminio — was shot and killed in an ambush-style attack.
Authorities have arrested Scott Michael Greene, a 46-year-old Urbandale resident with a history of misdemeanor arrests.
The reasons behind the attacks are still being investigated.
How can there be any justification for such acts of despicable cowardice?
Closer to home, authorities in Greene County said a rural Roodhouse man was arrested after a weekend assault that left a deputy injured.
The unidentified deputy was responding to a call about a dispute among neighbors when one of the people being questioned attacked, punching the deputy in the face and wrestling him for the officer’s Taser, according to a sheriff’s department report. At one point, authorities said, the man reportedly grabbed the deputy’s two-way radio and broadcast a call that an “officer has been shot.”
Officers from four agencies responded as quickly as possible considering the remoteness of the location and were able to arrest the man. The deputy was treated and later released.
But imagine what it must be like to suddenly face a life-and-death situation. Imagine struggling for your own safety while wondering if you will make it home that day to see your spouse or children.
Nothing is routine once that shield gets pinned to the uniform and the job becomes to protect and serve.
Most people understand the demanding and dangerous work of police and appreciate it. A Gallup Poll conducted in October indicates 76 percent of people have high respect for their local police — 12 percent more than just a year ago, and one of the highest levels of support in about five decades. That respect is most apparent in smaller towns and rural areas, according to the poll’s findings.
Still, too many people are getting entangled in the rhetoric over headline-grabbing incidents when individual officers make mistakes or show they are prone to the same human flaws as anyone else.
That needs to change. It is still possible to raise concerns and questions when any authority is abused. It is destructive to see these relatively isolated problems as endemic to anyone who wears a badge.
Otherwise, we create a society that is not conducive to correcting any problems that exist through peaceful means while recognizing the sacrifices that are being made to protect our safety and freedom.
The Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council is a Law Enforcement Union representing some 10,000 plus professionals who work in the Criminal Justice Arena and are granted their collective bargaining rights under the Illinois Labor Relations Act. Our members are Municipal Police Officers, County Sheriff’s Deputies, Police Officers who work for Elected Constitutional Officers, University Police Officers, County Correctional Officers, Court Security Officers, Probation Officers, 911 Telecommunicators, Records Personnel and some related Support Staff.
Outside the City of Chicago the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council represents more law enforcement professionals than any other union in Illinois with over 490 bargaining units. Our largest units boast membership numbers in the hundreds, while some of our smallest units consist of only four to five members. We have a presence in some of the most remote parts of the State, such as the Cities of Beardstown and Metropolis and the Counties of Washington and Union, as well as some of the densest regions, such as the Chicagoland Area and Cook County.
Experienced Labor Professionals
The Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council prides itself in representing its membership in the specialized field of public sector/public safety labor representation. With a full time staff of 13 attorneys and 13 field representatives, all responsible for negotiating contracts and representing membership, the FOP Labor Council has 208 years of combined Law Enforcement experience and 475 years of labor experience, collectively.
With offices in Western Springs (north) and Springfield (south), the FOP Labor Council is the only union who can meet the demands of law enforcement professionals 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with 10 administrative staff members and a 24 hour emergency hotline.
A Long and Strong Tradition
The Illinois FOP Labor Council was originally framed as a “Labor Committee” of the Illinois FOP State Lodge back in 1983 in anticipation of police officers gaining the right to collectively bargain. In 1984 collective begging became collective bargaining with the inclusion of police officers and firefighters under the Illinois Labor Relations Act.
With the onslaught of police officers seeking rights under collective bargaining the Labor Committee quickly evolved into an independent entity known today as the FOP Labor Council. Several active law enforcement officers from across the state left the security of their employment to help form the Labor Council. Their dedication and commitment established the backbone of the Labor Council which today employs labor experts with experience from across a broad range of the labor relations spectrum.