It’s our obligation, not politics, to support our Police
The Village of Orland Park this year is distributing new vehicle stickers that salute the dedication and service of the nation’s Police. Police have come under attack because a few members have committed criminal, violent acts against civilians, unjustly killing suspects or asserting excessive violence in response to suspicions.
By Ray Hanania
There is an unfair hypocrisy against Police everywhere because a few bad apples have engaged in unjustified violence against armed and unarmed civilians.
The violence by a few police officers has created a justified uproar demanding justice. But what is not justified is the blanket attack that many activists are trying to drum up against all members of the Police, not just in Chicago and its suburbs, but throughout the State of Illinois and even across the country.
The hypocrites have targeted anything that advocates support for the police, and that is outrageous, unjustified and ridiculous. It even has come to a suburb that has never had a major criminal violation by a police officer and that is headed by a Police officer who is considered a national hero.
The village of Orland Park board approved a new vehicle sticker that declares in a simple statement, “Orland Park Supports Police” over a red, white and blue American flag. The vehicle sticker expires July 1, 2019.
Two years ago, Orland Park’s vehicle sticker expressed the village’s support of the U.S. Defense Department’s observance of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. The 2013-15 Orland Park vehicle sticker commemorated the 50th Anniversary of Orland Park’s Lions Club, which does so much for the community.
Yet, many people protested the expression of support for the Police by the Village. The argument is that the expression of support is an insult to the “Black Lives Matter” movement which has led national protests against the few instances of police brutality and murders.
It’s ridiculous and it is racist.
Imagine if someone said that no one should acknowledge the achievements of Blacks in America because of those African Americans who have engaged in horrible crimes in this country?
It’s the same principle.
Orland Park residents are proud of their police. The Village has a powerfully effective anti-crime program, coordinated with many agencies and first responders from throughout the region. And, the village Police Chief is a national hero, too. Tim McCarthy, Orland Park’s police chief, was a Secret Service agent assigned to protect President Ronald Reagan.
On March 30, 1981, outside the Hilton Hotel in Washington D.C., a disgruntled, mentally disturbed young man named John Hinckley, Jr., stepped out from a crowd of people who gathered around the entrance to see the president. Hinckley fired a .22 caliber pistol several times at the president as he walked towards his limousine.
Agent McCarthy was hit in the chest. Another bullet ricocheted off the presidential limousine and hit the president in the side. Reagan’s press secretary, Jim Brady, was seriously wounded and hit in the head, causing severe brain damage that destroyed his life and the life of his family. D.C. Police Officer Thomas Delahanty was shot in the neck. The bullet ricocheted off Delahanty’s spinal cord causing permanent nerve damage to his left arm.
It could have been a lot worse but the police on duty, McCarthy included, were doing their jobs. They know that because they are on the front lines of protecting our society against criminals, Black, White, Yellow, Olive or any skin color, national origin, race or religion, they are also on the front lines in the face of criminal violence and assault.
Everyday, they face the uncertainty that an act of violence could injure them or take their lives. Yet they continue to do it.
Why shouldn’t we be proud of our Police?
A few police officers have committed criminal acts. Of course I support prosecuting them and forcing them to face justice, like anyone else accused of a crime. Treat them as criminals. Give them the same judicial rights that are given to the criminals they pursue. But don’t paint all police as criminals because you can’t control your own anger, hatred and emotions in response to incidents of violence that are exceptions.
Criminals who get up each morning and plan to commit acts of violence are the real threat. The vast majority of Police are professionals who are dedicated to enforcing the law. They get up each day to serve and protect the civilian population. We’re safe because of what they do.
Yet the protestors continue to spout their hatred and anger.
As a result of the barrage of outrageous and insulting protests against supporting the police, the Village of Orland Park decided last year to give vehicle owners the option to either display the new vehicle stickers, the way every motorists displays the local municipal registration, or, to replace the vehicle sticker on the vehicle windshield with a simple, nondescript white bar code.
I decided to display the vehicle sticker on my windshield.
Sure, some criminal or moron may not like it and may damage my car. That’s happened before. And if they do, I’ll call the police and provide information and the police will hunt them down.
I think anyone who damages a vehicle because that vehicle is displaying a municipal vehicle sticker that expresses support for our Police, should be treated just like racists who commit hate crimes. The punishment should be brutal and tough. If convicted, not only should they be ordered to repair the damage, but they should also be given jail time.
Targeting motorists who show support for Police is a hate crime, no different than those few police officers who have engaged in racist and unjustified assaults against civilian suspects.
The protestors assert that all police are guilty. But I disagree. They are guilty of creating an environment of hatred, demanding special treatment that goes above and beyond the same process of justice I have to experience when a crime is committed against me.
I’m proud to support the police. If you can’t, that’s your problem.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist, author and former Chicago City Hall reporter. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)