The best that America has to offer

Hundreds of thousands of good-hearted, well-trained officers choose to stand between the righteous citizenry and danger

By Kory Flowers

More than 850,000 professional law enforcement officers currently serve cities and communities across the United States, responding to or initiating millions of citizen contacts every week.

Should there be an actual epidemic of racist-based police brutality plaguing our nation, we would see dozens of incriminating videos capturing these alleged misdeeds every hour of every day of every week of every year…yet we don’t. The current allegations are simply untrue.

Across the country, officers honorably showed up for duty to ensure Americans could peaceably assemble.
Across the country, officers honorably showed up for duty to ensure Americans could peaceably assemble. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

The errors of a few officers are seized upon, painted in the most unfavorable light imaginable, and then broadcast upon all officers everywhere in order to manufacture and sustain an untrue narrative. Regardless that the data does not support such vile claims, we as professional law enforcement officers are still expected to perform our challenging jobs expertly during these trying times.

Hundreds of thousands of good-hearted, well-trained officers choose to stand between the righteous citizenry and danger, and more often than not to be met with baseless claims of racism and bigotry. How is that possible? Where do such people come from? What spirit enlivens such selfless duty?

"Officers honorably showed up for duty"

No person in their right mind would choose to wake up, shower, eat breakfast, kiss their spouse goodbye, and proudly, dutifully and voluntarily march into such an assault on the psyche and the body. But that is exactly what our men and women in uniform do every day. How easy it is to take for granted these officers.

As early peaceful protests in late May morphed into riots and destruction, looting and maddening lawlessness, every day brought news of novel anarchic behavior and carnage. Businesses were burned to ashes. Citizens were assaulted. Police precincts were torched. Millions of dollars of property were annihilated by mob rule. Officers were attacked. The unease of these tense days brought uncertainty and anxiety as Americans wondered when normalcy return.

During this madness, only one constant stood in stark contrast to the chaos – police officers staffing the razor-thin line between civil society and lawless pandemonium.

From Boston to Los Angeles, Dallas to New York, officers honorably showed up for duty to ensure Americans could peaceably assemble, or as became more often the norm, protect their communities against dissolution at the hands of barbarous mobs.

"Heroically and stoically standing in the middle of madness"

I watched news feeds from across the country in disbelief as towns and cities teetered on the edge of ruin. I felt both deep sadness and frustration. Rampant and contagious chaos was everywhere, on every channel, in every time zone, and all at once.

But then, just before turning it all off in resignation and virtual surrender, I looked again and realized what I had been missing. I saw hope amid despair. I discovered order standing strong against chaos. There was strength of character and duty among unsettling bedlam. On every news channel officers were heroically and stoically standing in the middle of madness ensuring that democracy would not crumble under such overwhelming stress. Extraordinary men and women, all unique and individual, yet with a common indefatigable spirit, standing courageously.

My sense of sadness turned to pride and gratitude, and even near amazement. That we still grow men and women in our nation with that audacious spirit and comfortably entrust them to protect our freedoms every day cannot be appreciated enough.

"Many stories in common"

I have close cop friends in all four time zones of our great nation, and while they have diverse and varied resumes and experiences in policing, they have many stories in common.

Such as wrapping tourniquets around the limbs of victims blasted by gunfire, elbow-deep in a stranger’s blood, saving lives. Or risking their own lives going through doors on high-risk arrest warrants, relentlessly tracking murderers, robbers and rapists.

Like hugging grieving mothers on their doorsteps while delivering death notifications, consoling the inconsolable. Or prying open the twisted metal carnage of horrific traffic crashes, tugging citizens to safety.

Such as saving those bent on self-destruction – jumpers, substance abusers and the despondent. Loving and serving their fellow citizens, regardless of race, every day.

"What's best about America"

Let this be a reminder to my brothers and sisters of how necessary you are. Without your courage, sense of duty and hardheaded optimism that you can make a difference, the world would crumble. You are always needed, and never more so than in these tumultuous days. As you lace up your boots, snap on your belt, and wrap up your Kevlar, know that the nation is eternally grateful for your service, even when it doesn’t feel that way. Be strong. Continue to take full responsibility for everything in your sphere of influence. Serve well. Remember that you are truly what’s best about America.

About the author

Lt. Kory Flowers is a 21-year veteran with the Greensboro (NC) Police Department. Lieutenant Flowers trains law enforcement officers nationwide on various subversive criminal groups, leadership, tactical communication, and has written articles and conducted interviews and podcasts for publications including Police Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and National Public Radio.

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