by Marion Marks
On June 25 the Shreveport Police Department conducted one of the most successful large-force actions, centered around the 500 block of Stephenson, without any loss of life and no shots fired by officers. Officers arrived on the scene after several 911 calls reported a loud, angry-sounding suspect firing a weapon at a residence. The suspect who needed medical assistance was spotted by responding officers who set up a perimeter and properly evacuated neighbors before proceeding. (Complete Police Report & 911-call chronology)
This episode made little more than a blip on the news, mostly because no one was killed or wounded (KSLA coverage). Without personal loss or loss of life, the media tends to ignore what transpires. Because of proper planning and training, there wasn’t much more to report. Twenty-four (24) officers responded and did what they were trained to do.
It’s when no shots are fired and little attention is paid that law enforcement doesthe best for the community. Stepping up to support the police, particularly after frightening episodes like this, is the responsibility of every citizen. Demanding professionalism is the responsibility of elected officials, and they are the ones citizens should direct the pointed questions if and when problems occur. It’s tough to do the right things day in and day out, but we are fortunate that our law enforcement representatives have an overall outstanding record for doing just this. It’s also easy for arm-chair critics to take and make criticism when something goes wrong.
Wednesday morning Mall St. Vincent was the scene of an active shooter drill. As part of the exercise 16 “victims” were “killed” or “injured.” For training purposes, law enforcement and fire department workers simulated a situation that has been quite real elsewhere.
This drill included an active shooter in a public building and emphasized how emergency personnel treat and transport victims. Personnel of Caddo Sheriff’s Department, Shreveport Fire and Police and mall security participated, but fortunately it was only a drill.
After events in Orlando, Baton Rouge, Minneapolis, and Dallas, anyone who is not grieving might search a little more deeply and question what values and public employees deserve your respect and support. America is a nation of laws, and equal treatment before the law is among our highest values. Talk of individuals who want to take personal acts against public safety officers, demanding “justice,” are creating an invitation for anarchy in our community.
Political power, particularly since enactment and actions to enforce functioning voting rights legislation and judicial actions in support of voting rights, has helped ensure citizens that justice will be fair and racial unbiased. Equal justice under the law is the law of the land, but it is constantly under challenge. We are not a perfect society.
Guaranteeing equal treatment becomes an ebb and flow of political will, often finding that advantages are based on the participation of citizens at the voting booth. Critics argue that those with power may derive too much of their power through abuse or manipulation of the system. This can change, but not through violence.
Clearly economic, social, and political advantages have been derived from winning elections. But elected office still has checks and balances between the branches of government, even if some in these branches work the system. Some elected officials may legally utilize their brute will to manipulate governmental policies, but we can work through the system to make changes. Sponsoring outrageous ventures that only benefit select “in-power” recipients is nothing new. The public is always at risk of this, and we must work to expose abuses and confront abusers for what they are.
Working within the system remains the best policy for resolving similar problems. Justice for law enforcement and addressing issues with all branches of government requires patience and constant work by citizens. Modern technology, cell phone cameras and other recording equipment remain tools available to citizens to document those who fail to follow the law. Every citizen, as we see in the news regularly, can be a reporter and recorder of historical data that is significant.
We hear too many cries in anger and claims based on failures to understand all information that may be available. Citizens need to slow down any rush to judgement in the same way we expect professional law enforcement to gather all the evidence before they reach conclusions. It’s impossible to take back bullets, bombs, or verbal attacks made in haste. I can only hope that we all temper reactions, and demonstrate a little patience, in this deadly summer of discontent.