Another officer, another funeral, another reminder why we put our lives on the line

Like most Black kids growing up in Washington, D.C., I had a complicated relationship with the police. On one hand, each time a patrol car drove down our street there was an immediate surge of fear and anxiety because each interaction was potentially volatile. On the other hand, I had my first introduction to competitive athletics through the Police Athletic League. Despite my experiences in PAL, I never lost that inherent fear of law enforcement officers.

In college, I led protests against police brutality. So, it was no small surprise to my family and friends when about a year after graduating from college I became a sworn officer. Many are surprised to learn that I continue to serve as a reserve police officer.

I’m frequently asked why. Why as a Black man would I put on a badge and gun? Why in the era of “Black Lives Matter” and “Defund the Police” do I put on a uniform that to some represents oppression? I regularly ask myself the same questions. The answer lies in men and women like Officer Gordon Beesely. I didn’t know Officer Beesely, but from what I’ve learned he was the embodiment of what we expect from a law enforcement officer. Beesely was shot and killed in Olde Town Arvada on Monday while responding to a call about suspicious activity.

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