No need to feel intimidatedPublished 6:41pm Saturday, March 1, 2014
To the editor:
As the daughter and daughter-in-law of former police officers in the city of Suffolk, all I can say in response to Linda Bouchard’s opinions (Opinion Page, Feb. 26) of police officers in our schools is “Wow.”
I have never heard something so utterly ridiculous in my life. When she sees a police officer in the schools, she thinks, “There is a scary person who can hurt me if I step out of line.”
We wonder why there is no respect in our schools for teachers and no respect in our society for police officers. It is because of people like Ms. Bouchard. Children should be taught at a young age to have respect for police officers.
My dad and father-in-law and all of the other fine officers of this city worked very hard and sacrificed a great deal to earn the privilege of wearing those police uniforms. The uniforms set them apart from other members of society and make them immediately recognizable to the citizens they serve.
Those uniforms identify them, or should identify them if children are brought up properly, as someone who can help if you are in trouble. My husband and I have always taught our kids that if they are lost or hurt or feel they are in danger they should find a police officer. I want them to have no doubt when they are in need that they have found someone who will help them.
My husband asked my 8-year-old daughter what she thinks when she sees a police officer. Her response? “Cool!” That is how it used to be and how it still should be. Kids used to look up to police officers.
One of my dad’s first encounters with a police officer was when he was a child shopping with his mother, and he got lost. He did as he had been taught and sought a police officer. The officer took him to the police station, where he safely awaited his mother, because that was the first place she turned, as well.
The experience stuck with him, and when he grew up, he wanted to serve his community. He decided to become a police officer and went on to become a detective and a deputy at the courthouse.
My father-in-law served our country in Korea and then continued to serve as a police officer in Norfolk and Suffolk. They sacrificed time with their own families to protect this city, just like our officers do today.
They have every right to wear the uniforms. Those uniforms and the guns on their hips should not intimidate anyone who is following the law. For those who are not following the law, I want them to be intimidated. Someone who comes into a school to hurt my children should be intimidated.
Perhaps Ms. Bouchard should take the time to get to know some of the men and women who serve our city; then she won’t be intimidated anymore. She will see they are men and women of character, and they deserve our respect.
Sherry Bangley Huffman