NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Letter: Another perspective on trainees

I have been following the debate regarding the issues surrounding the law enforcement trainees. While I can appreciate those who are against their presence on campus you have no idea of what law enforcement is all about.

I am not a police officer but have been in the law enforcement family my entire life. My father was with the Rochester, NY department for 38 years retiring with the rank of First Sergeant—the only member of the department so honored. 

Following his retirement the badge was retired as well. My dad was highly respected within the department and by the community as a whole. I married into the department and now my son is a member. Both have been cited as Officer of the Month.

As a child I watched my dad report for duty during the rioting that occurred in Rochester not knowing when he would come home and in what condition. 

Another time he came upon an accident scene and prevented a passer-by from removing the young driver from her vehicle. Had the driver been removed she would have been paralyzed.

Just a few weeks before giving birth I watched my husband be sent to Attica State Prison to help quell the rioting that was occurring. Other times he was spat on for doing his job of protecting our city.

Now I dread to think of what my son must be on alert for considering the state of our world.

I sincerely appreciate Jake Soraghan’s letter in the Nov. 18th edition of the NECC Observer. He gets it. Thanks, Jake. 

As for those whose comments appeared in the same edition you don’t get it. One former student found their training activity to be, “…aggressive and inappropriate for a college campus.” 

Pardon me, but those who attend college are adults and should be thinking like adults and able to understand what police training in today’s world entails.

An Early Childhood Education major determined that a 3-year-old doesn’t, “understand practice…that shouting messes with a kids [sic] head…” Is this person trying to say that what young children watch on TV is less violent than seeing the trainees practice?

The Director of the day care program doesn’t, “…know how appropriate it is to do it [training] in front of the college kids.” Does she have any idea of how much violence today’s college kids have already witnessed by what they choose to watch in the media and on the internet?

One student determined a training exercise to be, “…very dehumanizing…violent and aggressive.” Is she aware that police training pales in comparison to the training of terrorists?

Another student feels, “…the level of violence being displayed can be upsetting…and training should be on de-escalating violent situations.”

It’s obvious he has never been involved in a riot situation. His comment that, “…they’re just beating pads with nightsticks just to get…how to more efficiently beat someone down.”

Does he think this is the highest priority of a police officer—to beat others? He maintains this confuses him. Has he ever considered meeting one on one with an officer to better understand what police do?

Those suffering from PTSD may have difficulty being around the trainees however, unless those so afflicted live in a sterile, neutral environment the world will go on and help is available.

As far as the drill conducted during school hours, while it may have been a surprise to students, it could be seen as a positive by making students aware of how to react in a real situation. Isn’t it better to be prepared than have no idea of how to protect yourself?

Put yourself in a difficult situation needing assistance. A family member is missing. You are home alone and a stranger breaks in.

You are being held against your will. A mass shooter goes on a rampage where you are attending a venue.

I guarantee that person in blue who shows up will become your hero. Just ask the people who have been in the above scenarios.   

Do you know what it’s like to walk into a pitch black building searching for an armed

suspect? Do you know what it’s like to have to tell a parent their child has been killed in an accident? Do you know how it feels to see a victim of abuse?

Do you know how it feels to work on a case for months then watch a known perpetrator go free?

How would you like to have Thanksgiving and Christmas cut short because your parent had to report for duty?

It was a real treat when my dad and husband got the day off once every few years. My husband hated working Christmas Eve. Family trouble calls found kids cowering, the tree on the floor amid broken ornaments, gifts ripped apart and the wife or husband either drunk or beaten.

How would you like to grow up not knowing your parent because he or she was killed in the line of duty?

A police officer puts his or her life on the line every time they pin on their badge, holster their service revolver, and report for duty.

They serve and protect not because they have to but because they want to. They need exceptional training and it has to take place somewhere. Police officers don’t just magically appear from nowhere perfectly trained.

While what you see may be upsetting to those who don’t understand the inner workings of law enforcement be grateful officers can be well trained.

Step outside your comfort zone and talk to an officer. They are human, just like you.

They have feelings, hopes, dreams and fears. They are dads and moms, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters.

They are not machines; they are not perfect. And unless you can find a better way to train them, make the world a safer place or are willing to do their job be grateful someone is there when you need them.

Just ask anyone who has been a victim.

Sharon Tucker, M.Ed, BSPA, AAS, NECC Student