There has been a lot of talk about rights lately. Too often, people with little or no true understanding of what their rights entail accuse law enforcement of violating those rights. But, what about LEOs? Do they not have rights, too? I think they do. I’ve written down a few of them in what I’ll call the LEO Bill of Rights:
-LEOs have the inalienable right to go home to their families at the end of the shift by any means necessary.
-LEOs have the right to tell you when you are being stupid. You did something that got us called there, so expect us to tell you when you are wrong. Our job is not to protect your ego or feelings. Generally, your level of stupid has a direct correlation to our level of asshole. I am aware that some officers can be dickish in any situation, but most of us will be as polite as you allow.
-LEOs have the right to not only keep and bear arms, but to use those arms to defend themselves and others against attack. If an officer believes themselves or someone else to be at imminent risk of death or serious injury, you will get shot. Not getting shot is really easy. Just show your empty hands and do what you’re told. If you don’t agree, fight it in the courtroom.
-LEOs have the right to mess up. We are human. We make mistakes. We don’t have the right to be criminals, but come on. No one is perfect.
-LEOs have the right to have fun. We can laugh. We can play. We can at times avoid taking the job too seriously.
-LEOs have the right to cry, too. We see horrible things on a regular basis that most “normal” people couldn’t begin to fathom. It is okay for us to acknowledge just how messed up this world has become.
-LEOs have the right to take a break. We know you pay our salary. Hell, we pay our own salary, too. We can grab a bite to eat, sit and talk for a few minutes, and pop into a gas station for a cup o’ joe. We won’t complain about you standing around your water cooler at work. Don’t complain about us doing the same.
-LEOs have the right to expect the community to do its part. We can’t be everywhere all the time; we are not omnipotent. If you see something, say something. True change in a community will never come until the community starts to help itself.
-LEOs have a right to be angry. With the current climate of anti-LEO sentiment at a seemingly all-time high, we can get pissed off about the things people are saying or doing. We can be vocal. We can speak out.
-LEOs have a right to be compassionate. We have been given discretion and we can use it. Just because you think we should arrest or cite someone, doesn’t mean we will. Just because we don’t, doesn’t mean we are lazy or incompetent. Sometimes people just need a break or an opportunity to turn things around. It’s okay for a cop to give it to them.
What say you? What did I miss?