Police: How The Media Has Changed Everything

On August 9th, 2014, a man was shot and killed by a City of Ferguson police officer. Even though this incident happened in a small town in Missouri, it made national headlines within the day. You couldn’t watch the news for less than five minutes without hearing about the “unarmed black teenager” being shot and killed by the “white police officer”. This incident caused one of the biggest media frenzies in history. Riots broke out all over the town of Ferguson, MO. Not only were buildings broken into, but these same buildings were set ablaze. Fires were spread throughout the city and the chaos lasted days after the shooting. This particular moment in time has changed everything for our fellow officers today. Why? Because the media made an uproar by broadcasting false details.

The news announced details after details as soon as they received new information. It didn’t matter if this information was true or false, if the media heard it, they broadcasted it. The young man (Michael Brown) who died, was an 18 year old, black male who measured 6’4″ feet tall and weighed 292 pounds. In news headlines he was described as an “unarmed black teenager”. The legal age of an adult is 18, and nothing about 6’4″ feet tall and 292 pounds says “teenager”. This was a grown adult who could take care of himself. The media also described him as a “gentle giant”. This was later contradicted when survelliance video which showed Mr. Brown robbing a gas station while violently attacking the store owner just minutes before the shooting. Witnesses who claimed to have seen the shooting kept saying that Mr. Brown had his hands up and said “Don’t shoot” to Officer Wilson. This was the beginning of the “Hands up, don’t shoot” protests. All across America, protestors were chanting the phrase up and down city streets. In the midst of all of this protesting, federal investigators we’re proving that Mr. Brown had never had his hands above his head. In fact, these investigators were proving that Officer Wilson acted in self defense when firing the fatal shots. This case is a prime example of how the media has greatly effected the perception of police. Even though the media announced numerous false accusations about Officer Wilson, much of the public has chosen to believe those faulty details.

The Ferguson case was just the beginning of this negative attitude toward law enforcement. Multiple cases have come out nationally since the August 2014 shooting. It seems that now when you watch the news, all you hear about is police brutality and racial discrimination. Whether or not these handful of officers in the news were in the right or in the wrong, all police officers are now feeling the negative effects. While officers already have an extremely stressful job, now, on top of that, they are dealing with hostile people who don’t trust them. Some individuals have been so upset by the recent shootings that they have gun downed unsuspecting officers in their patrol cars. These were innocent men doing their job. These violent acts have caused departments to reevaluate their current safety precautions. If officers before didn’t already fear for their life on the job, they definitely do now.

So why is it that we’re now hearing about all of these allegedly crooked cops? It seems that ever since the media has painted this negative picture about police, society is becoming even more intolerant of law enforcement. Police officers have always been easily portrayed as the “bad guys” in society. They pull us over, write us tickets, and take us to jail. Or at least that’s what some people believe. These “bad guys” are actually the people in society getting the real bad guys off the street. People are so quick to judge and pick apart officers, but these same people are the last to get behind the badge. So of course cops are easy targets for news reporters. The media has no problem depicting our fellow officers as reckless killers because it’s more believable then say, maybe a doctor. In reality though, there are some doctors who use malpractice on their patients to make more money and some nurses who purposely make their patients sicker. Do we hear about them every week? No. Every occupation has true and unjust people. Just because a few officers may or may not make a bad call, doesn’t mean all officers deserve to be treated poorly. In fact, officers deserve to be treated with respect. Much of the public has no idea what they do and go through on a day to day basis. If people had even just a glimpse into an officer’s day they would propably think twice about giving them such a hard time.

So what are officers’ to do now to escape the harsh judgements of the media? There’s not much. But they can start by using more technology to protect themselves. Departments across the nation are beginning to incorporate body cameras into their policies. These cameras can now keep rolling when an officer leaves their patrol vehicle. This provides more safety for the officer and for the public. Unfortunately, it could take years or even decades for the average perception of police to revert back. Once false information has been put out there, it can be very difficult to change peoples’ minds. As long as the media is spreading their stories, and people are unwilling to listen to the facts, police officers will be having to look that much harder over their shoulders.

Police Profession and Long Term Care

Hogewey village just outside of Amsterdam is unlike most other villages. For one thing there are cameras everywhere and the gardeners are not who they appear to be. It sounds like bad sci-fi but the village is actually a nursing home for severe cases of dementia and Alzheimer’s. The project was started by a nursing home worker Yvonne Van Amerongen, who never wanted her parents to end up in a place like the one that she worked in. The project cost $25million to get it up and running, and it requires a great deal of government subsidy, but there are many lessons we can take away from this interesting experiment.

First is that they always try to put the residents in a home which is decorated for the time period that the patients short term memory believes it to be. The patients are not confused by the items that surround them and so they feel more relaxed and at home. The seniors see this place as a real town and the townspeople, their caregivers, keep the seniors active without appearing clinical. It is really amazing what they have been able to accomplish and it costs significantly less than the average American nursing home. The actual cost of care is $8000/month, but the most residents ever pay is $3600. This mere $43,200 as compared to the $80-90,000 Americans are paying to live in traditional nursing homes.

One thing that stands out to me is how much better people do when they feel at home. This is one of the things that I have always believed about the aging process. The longer a person can stay in their home, the longer, or at least the happier they will live. People do not want to be confined, we need freedom, or in the case of this Dutch village the illusion of freedom. These patients still feel like people and that feeling goes a long way.

I like this village, but I do not see a project like it coming together over here. Unless someone can find a way to do it without all of the government subsidies I don’t want to see it over here. What I like about Hogewey is that it shows us the value of home care and maintaining a level of independence. Some people will end up going to traditional nursing homes, because they need a more care than can be accomplished at home. However, people want to stay in their homes and live a normal life for as long as that remains possible.

This scenario is all too common for people who have been a police officer or in the law enforcement industry.  Dementia and Alzheimer’s patients are often helped return home after they wander off.  It’s important to have the police officers trained on how to handle these special cases.

Police officers who drink tons of coffee can find some solace. A recent study on Long Term Care showed that moderate coffee drinker had a 20% reduction in Alzheimer’s.  What ever the case may be there must be a comprehensive approach to address this aging word we live in so they will be protected and cared for in their old age.


shutterstock_police officer with arms folded

Be on Top, Be a Cop

A career well-known to others that requires a great inclination to be of assistance to those in need, a strong desire to face exciting daily activities or “adventures”, and undying commitment to serve and protect the community in all sincerity, is a career in law and enforcement—yes, as a cop! Needless to say, people are inspired to become police officers because it lets them afford a respected profession that obviously offers good benefits. Being a cop, however, is not always stunning as it appears to be and will never be a carefree career. Expect to put yourself in threatening situations for the sake of helping your fellowmen. There are also times when you should be on call to work long hours that may possibly interfere with your personal life, particularly if you already have a family. Besides, you will have to attend to everyday violations of the law by observing peace and order, meting out tickets, probing into noise complaints, and writing incident reports. In sum, to qualify as an officer you must have a big heart, good moral character, and strong dedication to your mission to help others in need.

It is a fact that nowadays, there are some cops who actually use their badges to preponderate among others and abuse the power they have received. An act of stinginess that is absolutely wrong! Thus, regardless of what position you hold as an officer, you must be someone would not act foolish by being dishonest to your fellowmen and to the laws of your country. Consequently, it pays for you to take the time to examine your reasons for aspiring to become a police officer. And if you have established the facts and you still strongly believe that you want to take the steps further, then perhaps, you can earn a police badge.

When applying to a police force, check if your competencies and personality are prepared for the challenges you will face as an officer. You must be skilled in active listening, critical thinking, and of course, assessing situations. You must also be good at solving problems and negotiating with people even under great stress and pressure.

Becoming a member of the law enforcement team requires a lot of effort and preparation. While requirements differ based on the area you are in, still, there are the universal or standard requirements you will have to meet which are as follows:

– Must have at least a high school diploma, a college degree will give you an advantage
– Must pass a criminal history check
– Pass the civil service examination
– Complete the police academy training

Once you have passed all these and qualified to be a cop, be sure that you value at true worth the opportunity given to you. Not all are given such position, so do not waste it. Plus, have a strong work ethic that can give you an edge and can prepare you to bigger opportunities.

Becoming a police officer is no doubt challenging that can put one’s life at risk; but, clearly, it is a fulfilling career that can help an individual make a big difference in the community and for the whole population.