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Coverage contributes to negative police image

I, like so many other people, have been paying close attention to the coverage in Ferguson, Missouri. I have my opinions on what may have transpired that night, but they are just that – based on what few facts have been released. I find it incredibly frustrating that media outlets are giving around-the-clock coverage to an incident given these circumstances. What has been most disheartening is the quick rush to judgment of the officer involved when no one but those there will truly know what transpired that night and very few understand what it is like to be put in that kind of situation.

Yet the question that keeps coming to mind is where is the non-stop coverage of the 68 police officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty since the beginning of 2014? According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, 29 officers were killed by gunfire this year, up 53 percent over the same time period in 2013. Where is the outrage regarding their deaths?

As I wrote in a letter a little over a year ago when there were several police-action shootings in the span of a few short months in Fort Wayne: stop demonizing officers who risk not making it home to their families after their shift. The media and general public will never understand the situations they find themselves in every day as they protect and serve our communities. I have some insight as my father spent most of my life as a member of the Fort Wayne Police Department, my brother-in-law and sister-in-law are currently law enforcement officers, and I have several dear friends who wear a badge every day.

I feel that the kind of coverage we're seeing related to Ferguson is a detriment to law enforcement and the safety of police officers. The media need to look at and portray officers as the heroes they are in many people's time of need. These stories should be making the headlines day in and day out.


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