Reader sounds off: Stop blaming cops for the actions of criminals

As a licensed professional counselor who has worked with both criminals and police officers for years, I would like to know when people are going to be held accountable for their own behavior and when law enforcement will stop being blamed (“Baltimore police stopped noticing crime after Freddie Gray’s death. A wave of killings followed“). 

Being a police officer has to be one of the hardest jobs in the world. Can you imagine being given moments to decide if your own life is in danger? 

I think the article on Baltimore police was a disservice to officers everywhere. They can’t do their jobs without public bashing. They are often accused of being too violent. And then when they are more cautious, they are accused of pulling back. 

Having listened to their stories, I know that most of us would not be able to do their jobs, put our own lives at risk or face the daily bashing. Most officers are good men and women who put their uniform on every day and go out to protect and serve us.  Isn’t that hard enough?

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I have worked with criminals in a variety of settings including jails, prisons and juvenile detention centers. I’ve also worked with men transitioning out of prison. The therapeutic process involves taking responsibility for behavior. As long as people who have done wrong have someone else to blame, they won’t turn their lives around. They’ll remain stuck in criminal thinking patterns, and often go on to commit more crimes. 

There are already too many divisions within this country. We need to support all the wonderful men and women who serve us daily and stop blaming them for every injustice.   

We are all mothers, fathers, sons, daughters and citizens, and we all want the same for our families — to live in a safe society. To do this, we must shift our perspective to the positive.  Yes, there is injustice in this country, but blaming an entire group won’t help fix it.

I know people who have made mistakes, served time in prison and then turned their lives around to become an asset to society. I also speak with police officers who have experienced high levels of stress because of traumatic events that they have witnessed.  I work with people from all races, ages and professions, and my goal as a counselor is to help people heal. I feel that by continually blaming police, we are negatively affecting our society.  

I know a police officer who was run over by a drunken driver while on the job and is in critical condition with brain injuries and a broken body.  He may or may not recover, yet no one is fighting for his injustice!  Why is that?  Why are there comparatively few positive police stories? Why don’t we turn the tables and look at how officers suffer from violence and how they are targeted? 

I struggle to watch or read news stories these days. I want to feel positive about my life and the world. When I see a lot of negative stories on law enforcement or police bashing, it makes me concerned for the future of the United States. Let’s stop the divisions and work together to create a more positive country. 

Karolee Bulak; Naples, Fla.

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