by Zachary Shaw Staff Writer
The fatal shooting of Michael Brown involving Police Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri covered headlines in news outlets across the country.
Varying reports have led to difficulty with getting an accurate account of how events unfolded. Even with a grand jury in session to sort through the evidence, supporters have drawn sides.
Brown supporters are crying out for justice to be served against Officer Wilson, who shot the soon to be 18 year old college student, while those standing behind Officer Wilson say that his actions were warranted out of self defense.
An underlying question out of this case is how does the public view law enforcement?
The law enforcement’s job is to preserve and protect the normality of society. Emily Hejna, Public Relations Officer of Alton Police Department gave a general statement of duties of an officer.
“The Police Officer has the responsibility for general police work in the protection of life and property through the enforcement of laws and ordinances. Duties involve an element of personal danger and require that employees act without direct supervision and exercise independent judgment in meeting emergencies,” Henja said.
Law enforcement is in a position to guard those around them when necessary, but how do the people they are sworn to protect view them and their service in the line of action?
Of the 60 Lewis and Clark students surveyed, the small sample size yielded relatively positive perceptions as to the public’s trust and faith in regards to law enforcement.
Fifty-five percent of polled students stated that they believe that law enforcement is fair and equal in suspecting of wrongdoing, therefore ignoring a person’s race, religion, gender, etc.
54 percent also said that they see that profiling does not help in preventing harm.
More than half those surveyed, 57 percent, said they feel safe when coming into contact with law enforcement.
Lines have been drawn in the sand in Ferguson. Poll results reflected that 75 percent said they would give a police officer the benefit of the doubt.
“As far as our relationship with the citizens and city, it is ever evolving. Alton Police Officers work diligently every day for each citizen encounter to be as positive as possible while carrying out necessary measures to ensure the safety of all the residents of Alton,” Henja said.
Cases involving suspicion of unjust police officers are not helping strengthen the trust and relationship between those in uniform and the citizens of their respective communities they serve.
Contact Zach at email@example.com