When Did Police Disrespect Become Acceptable?

When Did Police Disrespect Become Acceptable?

Law enforcement work has never been easy and usually takes a unique type of individual with particular character and personality traits to find it appealing. That’s why the increased disdain and ill regard police officers face today from certain segments of society is such a concern. We have to look no further than the Ocean City crime reports to see this disrespect on full display.

In most parts of the country, police vacancies are not filled as quickly as they were 10 years ago. Studies have been done and prove the point. It’s dangerous and difficult work. It always has been, but things have changed over the last decade. There’s a general contempt and disrespect for local law enforcement among the new generations. It’s always been a thankless job for the most part, but it’s become something more than that over time.

There is a tremendous distrust and poor regard for police among certain segments of young society. It’s disturbing and oftentimes palpable. Several incidents in Ocean City last week serve as confirmation of that trend. Perhaps the blame is due to increased police brutality incidents and malfeasance cases across the country amid the changing culture in American households where disrespect is tolerated and learned from parents.

We believe this ignorance and poor regard toward law enforcement is probably a merger of all these facets, but it should not be tolerated as an acceptable norm.

The rising generations have generally lost respect for most authority figures. The reason comes back to entitlement, which we think is a source of a lot of things wrong with our society. Everyone else is to blame for missteps and actions that portray people in an unfavorable light. There’s no ownership among many who feel the need while police are asking them questions about their wrongdoings to scream at the top of their lungs about their rights and how they don’t need to adhere to simple police requests. That happened in Ocean City on the Boardwalk last week.

Harping on the obvious changes in our society is not the intent here. It’s to remind citizens it should not be accepted or tolerated. It may be traditional or old school, but we think being respectful to police and other authority figures is a must. We need to support those who protect us rather than railing against them at all opportunities.

A commonality among many arrest reports this month in Ocean City was this blatant contempt and hostility toward authority. It’s playing out in a high-profile fashion in Ocean City, but it happens in work places, streets, communities and schools every day. It’s the culture of accepting this fact that must be addressed.

What can be done to reverse this trend? It didn’t happen overnight and it can’t be fixed easily. At its most fundamental, it starts within the walls of our homes. Rather than generating a fear, distrust and disrespect toward police, based typically on personal missteps and slanted views of reality, we should foster an approach focused on being respectful, courteous and grateful to those charged with protecting us. They deserve it for their willingness to put their lives on the line every time they leave their home in the name of enforcing laws and maintaining peace and order in our communities.

It won’t happen today, tomorrow or next year, but it should be the goal.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.