Under a microscope: the need for good law enforcement in this age

Published 8:06 pm Tuesday, September 2, 2014

I have a friend whose son graduated from a fine university and is working on a master’s degree.

My friend raised his son to be responsible in all areas of life and his son has responded with flying colors. His son could have entered just about any field of endeavor and been successful, but chose law enforcement. His son felt a calling.

You’ve heard of a calling. Most often, it is associated with vocations that may be of a religious nature.

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For instance, I know that I was called to be a part of God’s work and it has turned out to be a pastor.

People can be a part of God’s work and their vocations may be outside of the church.

For instance, my daughter is a teacher and I have no doubt that teaching the inner city children of Syracuse, New York, has her in a place where she can do important and needed work. I believe she was called to be a teacher.

Everything that we do from growing cotton and producing food to treating our brothers and sisters in their medical needs to treating people fairly in all businesses can be our callings.

There is no kind of work that is undertaken with diligence and pride that should be considered less than honorable.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible speaks to the virtue or goodness of all kinds of work. “Whatever you do, work at it wholeheartedly as though you were doing it for the Lord and not merely for people.” (Colossians 3:23)

I return to the calling of my friend’s son. Maybe we could say that all work is vital to the country.

In a way that is true, but can there be any other work that is so necessary as that of law enforcement? What would our civilization be if there were no law and order?

I am not writing about the events of Ferguson, Missouri, but those events of a few weeks ago have certainly put our law enforcement agencies under a microscope. To me, that is as it should be, but we must be very careful as we judge these men and women.

My friend tells me that he has many conversations with his son. He tells him that our communities, our country has placed in his hands powerful weapons and has given him tremendous command and sovereignty over others.

When a law enforcement official, no matter what level, speaks, we are to listen and obey, no matter how high on some totem pole we feel. That official license must be carefully guarded and used with great judgment.

Of course, law enforcement officials are as human as we are.

That means they share with us the assurance of making mistakes. Unfortunately when they make mistakes, the consequences can be tragic.

Mistakes are one thing; intentional abuse of power is another.

When the abuse of power occurs, there have to be consequences that are sure and appropriate.

There also has to be a gathering of all possible information to illuminate the difference between mistakes, suitable actions, and intentional abuses of power. We, as the people, have to understand those differences.

I wish everyone could get along. I wish everyone trusted each other. I wish there were no criminals. Until my wishes come true, though, we need good, responsible, and well-trained law enforcement officials. And they need our prayers.