This is an open letter to two different groups with two different messages that are forever linked.

To my brothers and sisters in law enforcement:

Whenever you are in public view performing your duties, regardless of the environment, regardless of the task or regardless of the individuals you are dealing with, assume is it is being recorded on video.

This in no way should alter your lawful actions nor lead you to shy from performing said duties under any circumstances.

However, if the situation should deteriorate and become physical, assume it will be on YouTube within minutes, assume it will have thousands of hits and assume it will appear on the 6 o’clock news if outrageous enough.

To the general public:

Whenever you see a video of law enforcement officers engaged in actions you may find uncomfortable or disagreeable, do not for a minute believe you are seeing the entirety of that situation. What these clips do not show is the sequence of events leading up to the video, which would likely place the situation into more context.

The media is well versed in repeatedly playing these clips of officers perceived to be behaving badly when, in fact, for the most part, they are performing their duties in a manner they were trained and sworn to perform.

The casual citizen who does not have experience with or exposure to law enforcement officers in performance of their duties may find these scenes disturbing and objectionable. Ours is a distasteful job at times and requires us to do things seemingly contrary to human behavior.

Officers do not pick what calls they respond to, nor can they choose what people to engage with. It has become far too easy and commonplace to pass judgment on law enforcement officers without all of the facts.

Steven Edmondson