Recent high-profile denouncements of police actions and deadly attacks on law enforcement like those in Dallas and Baton Rouge last year have police throughout the nation on edge. That means American citizens should take extra steps to protect themselves during encounters.
Pew Research recently interviewed 8,000 police officers, finding that 93 percent are more concerned about their safety than they were before national anti-police protests kicked off.
Because of the current atmosphere, officers report that their jobs are becoming more difficult.
As Pew notes: “Three-quarters say the incidents have increased tensions between police and blacks in their communities. About as many (72%) say officers in their department are now less willing to stop and question suspicious persons. Overall, more than eight-in-ten (86%) say police work is harder today as a result of these high-profile incidents.”
With police increasingly fearing for their safety and workplace stress levels rising within departments, American citizens are likely to find some officers are less friendly on the streets.
That’s more true in some areas than it is others, as Pew reports that 56 percent of officers believe “an aggressive rather than courteous approach is more effective in certain neighborhoods.”
If you find yourself in an interaction with an officer who is armed and unfamiliar to you, it’s a good idea to take certain steps to protect yourself from the power of the state. That’s true even if you feel you are a law-abiding American with nothing to hide.
The Rutherford Institute has published a helpful list of things to remember when you are forced to interact with officers.
Here’s the list:
A post on the institute’s website goes into further detail about types of interactions you may have with police and how officers are legally required to carry out those interactions.
For the most part, American police officers are honorable individuals and dedicated public servants. There are, however, bad officers out there who see the badge as a tool which gives them the right to hassle and abuse citizens.
For the average American, knowledge of rights and courtesy toward officers whenever possible can go a long way in making sure interactions with police are minor inconveniences rather than life-ruining, or ending, ordeals.
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