The Lakeland Mirror

Voice for the Sheepdog

Danielle+Livingston%E2%80%99s+brother%2C+Mac%2C+is+much+like+many+children+who+dream+of+becoming+police+officers+when+they+grow-up.
Danielle Livingston’s brother, Mac, is much like many children who dream of becoming police officers when they grow-up.

Danielle Livingston’s brother, Mac, is much like many children who dream of becoming police officers when they grow-up.

Danielle Livingston’s brother, Mac, is much like many children who dream of becoming police officers when they grow-up.

Danielle Livingston, Managing Editor

A sheepdog guides and protects the sheep day and night from wolves. More often than not, no wolves come to prey on the innocent sheep. On those nights that the predators do come, the dog becomes the defender of the defenceless. A sheepdog limps away, while the sheep are safe and untouched. The farmer who could protect himself may not notice the weight the sheepdog has on protecting the house, as well. Sometimes, the dog will get a few more kibbles at night, but often they are a forgotten protector…Without the sheepdog, the wolves prowl and attack.

Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) are often called sheepdogs. They are meant to be man’s best friend and silent protector.

Since I can remember, LEOs have had a stigma. They’re called pigs and police brutality is plastered around for all to see.

I agree, police brutality is an issue that needs to get solved. When a LEO does not uphold their code of duty, they must be punished for their actions and rehabilitated or replaced with an officer that will protect the public with the right intentions and mindset.

LEOs have an interesting position. A bad apple will not only spoil the whole bunch but also everyone who is remotely associated. For example, I might be singled out because I am a supporter of LEOs.

There are bad lawyers, teachers, writers, gamers, psychologists, accountants and doctors. No matter the occupation there will be individuals who fail to do their job and are malicious.

LEOs though, in the mind of some, must all be bad if a few are. There are officers that become power hungry, use excessive force and do unacceptable actions for being a LEO.

However, a majority of police officers get into the field to serve their community because they feel they have a moral obligation to create a safe environment for the public.

We cannot let a few officers taint the name for the rest.

From ages eight to 12, I refused to eat grapes. I accidently ate one spoiled grape during lunch and from then on I swore off them. That was the only thing I could do, right: assume all grapes are mushy and rotten? For about four years I did not eat that fruit (and I am a connoisseur of fruits, let me tell you). When I was 12 I realized how childish I was being. One grape was going to decide my opinion for all grapes? No. I just had to weed out the bad ones.

We cannot forget the sheepdogs that do their duty to the best of their ability and are officers to better the community. We cannot let one ‘bad grape’ ruin the rest. Most officers mean to do good and wish only for the safety of others.

Being a LEO is a very difficult, high-stress job and the virtuous ones need recognition. Even just having a blue light on the front of your house shows support.

As seen in the picture above is my brother, Mac, who is now seven. After much contemplation, he asked to be a police officer for Halloween this year. For a day, he was Officer Mac Livingston, the caretaker of Bad Dog Buster Livingston who was under his custody and watchful eye.

I’m not sure Mac understands yet the weight of the badge he put on that day. Granted, it was just a costume and the only things he confiscated were mass amounts of Skittles and Milky Ways.

However, Mac still sees LEOs as his protectors, as do I.

We must remember why officers are in the position they are in, remove or rehabilitate those who do not uphold that ideal, and respect and honor those Law Enforcement Officers who do their duty as they were meant to.

 

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