Opinion: Law enforcement, the side you don’t see


Katiana Williams, Review Staff

Feature Photo By: Katiana Williams – Deputy Heath Gumm was shot and killed in the line of duty on January 24th, 2018. His squad car was placed outside of the Adams county Sheriff’s Office Substation throughout the week of the one year anniversary. There was a candlelight vigil held for him on January 24th. Nine candles were placed in the front of the squad car and one PBR which was Deputy Gumm’s favorite beer.

Many students at Rangeview will argue that law enforcement isn’t necessarily a good thing. They have different opinions, varying from law enforcement is a good thing, to law enforcement needs to “get their act together” because most things that they do are bad.

“They just overuse their power and think that having a badge makes them entitled,” stated junior Janeigh De La Paz.

I am currently a police explorer, and I see a completely different side to everything that happens. I see the struggles that cops go through firsthand and how difficult the job can actually be. It is because of my experience that I believe more respect should be given to law enforcement.

Currently, cops are typically portrayed through social media as not showing enough mental restraint. It is not uncommon to see stories of cops shooting unarmed suspects, a cop unjustly beating someone, and so on.

Though regardless none of these acts are excusable, how the media chooses to portray sides of the story can cause more negativity to be placed toward law enforcement officials.

Don’t get me wrong, there are cases of cops that have used excessive force or have shot someone when it was not necessary —  but, just like there are bad teachers, bad lawyers, bad mechanics, and bad babysitters, there are also bad cops. All cops are not bad.

“It’s sad that I have to put on this uniform, this badge and defend myself against something that happened in another state, or somewhere else that might have been inappropriate,” said Officer Dziurgot the SRO at Rangeview. “The thing is, sometimes the narrative gets out that something inappropriate was done when really nothing inappropriate was done.”

After his six years in the Air Force, Officer Dziurgot became a cop in 1995, has worked as school resource officer (SRO), and for three years he has worked as the SRO at Rangeview.

Many stories get out about cops over exceeding the use of “excessive force.”

In reality, people see a video that never shows the full story. They never hear the call, read the information put out, or watch the full video. Because of this, cops are portrayed in a bad light and/or assumed to always result to excessive force. This is not the case.

“They have a rhyme and reason for everything they do but, if it’s not up to the standards of an individual or group they are looked at as bad or controlling,” said senior Lauryn Bradley.

Police officers must also use restraint while on the job, which is easier said than done to someone on the outside looking in.

To gain perspective, how would you restrain yourself if you got ahold of the guy that shot and killed your best friend? If you had everything you needed on you to beat that person or kill that person, what would you do?

A lot of cops come face to face with this problem on a daily basis: their best friend or partner is shot and killed in the line of duty and they must look for the suspect and arrest them — all the while showing 100% restraint.

January 9th was Law Enforcement Appreciation. During this day at Rangeview, you could find Rangeview’s former SRO, Officer Hickox, finishing reports. (Katiana Williams)

Cops must remain calm and show restraint in these situations in order to not only protect themselves, but those in immediate danger as well.

“People don’t truly understand how hard it is to keep your cool in those situations and how hard it is to run towards the bad, run towards that gun fire,” said junior Alfonso Bravo.

The amount of people that are becoming cops each year is going down more and more. When I have talked about becoming a cop to another cop, they say don’t do it. There are stories of what could happen if law enforcement official no longer existed.

Why is that a thing, why shouldn’t there be anymore cops?

“It’s decreasing for the same perception that the media isn’t portraying the full story and that’s causing a lot less people to want to become police officers because they just don’t want to be that bad thing,” Bravo said.

To many in today’s society, the career is not looked up to at all. When a cop shows up to a call they never know if it is going to be their last, they don’t know if they will make it home, and I can guarantee, if you ask any cop what their goal during a shift is, they will tell you that it is to make it home.

“The hardest part of their job is not knowing whether they are going to come home to their family after shift. People take every and any opportunity to cause harm to you or even your family,” said Bradley.

In 2018, 150 cops died in the line of duty. The average age of all of them put together was 41.

Law enforcement officials make the greatest sacrifice: putting their life on the line while protecting those around them.

“It’s a difficult job. We take discretion, it just seems to be because the climate of the nation and the public’s perception of us that anytime we take action, were under investigation to make sure that we didn’t do anything wrong,” Officer Dziurgot said. “I feel like anything I do makes me want to hesitate because I’m afraid to lose my job.”

Officers have many things that they wish people knew, but for Officer Dziurgot, he just wants people to know he’s human as well.

“I wish that people knew that we’re just like you… we like to laugh, make jokes, eat Big Macs, wrestle with our kids, and ride our bikes.”Ultimately, law enforcement officials are not perfect. There are no excuses to those that abuse the power that  they have in a negative way, but keep in mind that there are good ones out there — ones that are willing to put their life on the line for you.