Kayla DeLotte

Officers on campus give students guidance and provide safety.

Kayla DeLotte, Reporter

Recently, the media has covered a wide array of stories pertaining to police brutality, calling into question the police force and their practices as a whole. These headlines have dominated political and social conversations, especially within the last year. The main repercussion that comes from the negative coverage is an overwhelming amount of backlash and hate directed towards police officers.

A Washington Post article contained statistics involving the nearly 1,000 people that police officers have killed in 2015. Of the 1,000, 74% of the victims were brandishing firearms at the time of the shooting. Another 16% held weapons, often knives. The remaining percentage were cases that included judgement calls that may be questioned by others.

These judgement call cases are the ones that the media often covers. The results have been anywhere from peaceful protests to full scale, city-wide riots. Cities all over the United States have been affected by this media coverage.

“The media is known to blow anything out of proportion, not to say that there is no justification for some cases,” says Junior Amrita Kapat. “The way they present things that a few officers have done, make people believe that all police are bad.”

This reputation has many officers fearing for their safety during their shift. It is important to keep in mind that when each police officer takes the oath to protect and serve, they know that they may not make it back to their loved ones at the end of the night. Their primary focus is making it through the day and returning home.

“What most people need to remember is that most of us law enforcement personnel, in general, come into this job because we want to help people. We don’t come into this job to arrest people. That’s not our main goal,” says Officer Heather Smart.

Officer Smart strives to build positive interactions between students and police officers.  She feels that working at a school, like Seminole High, gives her the greatest opportunity to carry out her mission.

With the overwhelming amount of backlash the media produces regarding police officers, they often fail to report on the heartwarming stories that come with the job. The deputies that are in this line of work look at their touching feats as just another aspect of the job.

A local act of kindness was carried out by the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office. An autistic 6 year old had invited his entire class to his birthday party with not a single classmate turning up to the party. With sadness, his mother had taken to facebook to share her experience. Within an hour, dozens of officers had arrived to the party, ultimately making the boy’s birthday a day to remember.

Without specific police departments in mind, there have been several cases of officers giving up their own shoes to homeless people who are unable to afford ones of their own. In addition, stolen bikes have been replaced with officer’s personal money and many stop to play basketball with the kids of their community.

With families, friends, and lives of their own, Officer Smart wants to “make people remember that we’re people too and we’re here to help.” This help may not always be well known, but is present on a daily basis.