The reality inner city police officers face [Letter]

September 30, 2014

With a resurgence of violence in Ferguson, Mo., I am reminded of a revelation that I had over 30 years ago upon becoming an inner city police officer.

I learned to accept, but not fully understand, that the perceived value to human life on the street in many of the downtrodden areas of America is substantially lower than it is to the police and many others living under better socio-economic circumstances.

When the two cultures of diverse values clash it often results in those with higher self-esteem being forced to take actions they would not choose to take except out of a desire for self-preservation.

If you were an officer being shot at or truly in fear of having your gun being taken and used against you, what would you do? As it has been said many times in the world of law enforcement, it's better to be tried by 12 than carried by six.

Joel E. Gordon, Masontown, W. Va.

The author is a former Baltimore City police officer and former Kingwood, W. Va., chief of police. He is author of the book Still Seeking Justice: One Officer's Story.

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