One of the great reasons to live in East Tennessee, and Soddy-Daisy, in particular, is the climate of safety and security. Out here in the suburbs and rural areas, crime is nearly non-existent. Sure, there is drug crime and petty crime, but serious, violent crime is virtually unheard of. In my 25 years living here, there have been just a couple murders. On my street, there has been one theft that I recall, and that was an unlocked car that was rifled through.
Think about that. An unlocked car. Because that is not uncommon here.
I live in the city limits of Soddy-Daisy, so I cannot comment on the county or other cities around these parts, but we owe a large part of that to our local police department. They are diligent in their duties and respond quickly. Because that is what they do – respond to citizen’s calls for help and take action when they see a crime taking place.
The police in general get a lot of negative press these days, but let’s look at the stats:
- There are more than 800,000 sworn officers in America
- There are more than 53,000,000 interactions between police and the public
- There are over 10,000,000 arrests each year
- There are more than 18,000 police injured in the line of duty in each year
- There are over 130 police killed in the line of duty each year
That is a lot of work, a lot of arrests, a lot of death and injury – for not a lot of police.
A police officer is hired by the local jurisdiction to serve and protect the community. They are here for us, the citizens who pay the taxes that fund their jobs. They are here to answer your call when you need them, and to respond to criminal acts when they are confronted with them. We are asking a lot out of this relatively small group of men and women.
In Soddy-Daisy, the police are committed to keeping our city crime-free. When I started our Neighborhood Watch a few years ago, the chief and several officers came to our home to talk to us. They explained that they always seek to arrest and, have prosecuted, all crime. Shoplifting and car break-ins may seem petty, but that element needs to be contained. Those door-to-door scam artists? They told us they will be escorted to the city limits (a legitimate door-to-door person can get a permit at city hall – make sure you ask for theirs when they come knocking). They encouraged us to be armed, and well-trained, and to get a carry permit. The police feel like we are part of the solution – it reminds me of the old saying: “When seconds count, the police are minutes away.” They like the idea of organized, aware, vigilant – and armed – streets and subdivisions.
The bottom line is simply this: they are here for me, they are here for you. They serve and protect.
This idea is in line with common Christian theology:
“Be a good citizen. All governments are under God. Insofar as there is peace and order, it’s God’s order. So live responsibly as a citizen. If you’re irresponsible to the state, then you’re irresponsible with God, and God will hold you responsible. Duly constituted authorities are only a threat if you’re trying to get by with something. Decent citizens should have nothing to fear.” Romans 13:1-3, The Message
Or, as they like to say, don’t do the crime if you can’t serve the time.
But what about the problems? What about the abuse, the killings, the bad cops I see on TV? Shouldn’t we reign them in? Defund them? Make them more accountable?
Again, let’s look at some facts:
- About 27% of officers fire their gun in their entire career
- About 1% fire their gun each year
- About 1,000 people are shot by police each year
- About 70% of those shot were armed with a weapon
- About 1,000 police officers are arrested for committing a crime each year
So, let’s summarize – out of 800,000 police, maybe 8,000 will shoot their gun, barely 1% commit a crime, and out of 10,000,000 arrests, only .01% are killed. Meanwhile, about .02% of officers will be killed – statistically speaking, that means it is more likely for a police officer to be killed than a criminal.
As in any profession, there are problems, a few bad apples, some who don’t measure up. But the narrative that is blared from TV and news networks and Facebook and Twitter is, quite frankly, false.
And that’s why I Back the Blue.
Defund the police? Don’t be nuts. Spend more on training, equipment, and pay. Hire and keep the best the community can afford. Give them what they need to do their jobs, undergird that with community support, and show them the love and respect that over 99% of them deserve.
Recently communities have been showing their support by lighting up their neighborhoods with blue porch lights. A member of the Soddy Daisy Grapevine, Shari Hooks, suggested we do the same locally. A date was agreed on, the week of October 18. So we set out to try to get our little one-street neighborhood onboard. We bought a dozen blue LED bulbs, packaged them up in bags with instructions, and delivered them to our neighbors. Hopefully, we will see blue lights on Harmony Lane that week.
It is so easy to focus on negatives in the world, but most people just want to live peaceably, raise their families, go to work, enjoy life. Police officers are no different – they do not wake up each morning hoping to get in a gunfight, shoot and kill a suspect, or abuse their power. They get up and go to work – wanting to come home that night, to their families, safe and sound.
Consider getting onboard this idea. Light up your porch with a blue light, at least the week of October 18-24, and leave it on at night. I am sure it is dark, lonely, and mostly boring out there at night – let our local men and women in blue know they are driving by a supportive neighborhood.
Back the Blue. It’s the right thing to do.