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It’s About Time!
Jeff Long, October 5, 2012 | Police Blog
I have been waiting for something like this to happen for a long time! For someone in our society to stand up and say, “Enough is enough!”
I watched a story today of a news anchor named Jennifer Livingston who works for WKBT – TV in La Crosse Wisconsin. News anchors, like police officers, are often in the public eye and receive pretty consistent feedback relating to their job performance and appearance. In this story it was reported that Livingston had received an email from a man who criticized her weight and told her that he “hopes she doesn’t consider herself a suitable example for young people, especially girls.”
Livingston responded to the writer, on air, and stood up for herself noting that the man was a bully. She spoke to viewers and asked that they not allow such people to define their self-worth, which is the same thing we tell our new officers.
Over my career I have been called just about every profane name imaginable. I have been mocked, put down and lied about. I had to watch a co-worker deal with the after effects of a sign hung in the community calling him a pedophile. This was done because the resident did not like that officer. Despite the despicable manner in which we are treated by some (NOT ALL!) we are always told, “You are a public official, there is nothing you can do about it.”
I have come to accept that it is “part of the job”. It has taught me to “be the bigger person.” However, the reality is that this is bullying. Why should we be subjected to humiliation by those making fun of our physical attributes, sworn at and have our families called names?
The people committing these acts are not who you may think. The two most profane “tirades” I have been subjected to came during traffic stops – both were Edina residents and both were in the medical field. Both individuals explained to me my position in the pecking order of society, which apparently is a “bottom feeder” (not able to print their real words), both screamed profanity, both told me they knew the Mayor and would “have my job” and both ended the conversation with their thoughts of me (again, I can’t print those words).
It’s not just at traffic stops that we get treated like this. There are Facebook pages and Twitter accounts that specifically target the Edina Police Department. Again, this is nothing more than cyber bullying.
As a society, it seems that this has become acceptable. We are told to ignore it and not to let it bother us. It seems to me that we have “thrown in towel” and let the bullies have their way. It was nice to see someone stand up for themselves in a public manner and finally hold people accountable for their behavior. I wish we could do the same.
It has been nice to see that the Edina School District is working hard to address bullying in the schools. Hopefully the next generation will not see bullying as acceptable and as part of the job of a public official. Every single one of us is open to constructive criticism. However, there is a big difference between bullying and making a helpful suggestion.
This behavior is not limited to the news media and law enforcement. I think of the abuse that people take in professions such as aviation (flight attendants), car mechanics and bank tellers. I am sure the list goes on and on. I hope Ms. Livingston starts a new trend of standing up and saying “enough is enough”.
I am really proud of Jennifer Livingston and think she is the perfect role model for my two daughters! She is a strong, successful woman who stands up for herself! That is exactly what I want for my daughters!