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Opinion: State Government Should be Looking for More Ways to Back the Blue

Nothing puts a knot in my stomach like hearing about attacks on police officers who put on the uniform to protect us and our communities. Just this past weekend, two officers were shot in the line of duty, right here in Southeast Missouri in Carter County. Cpt. Dallas Thompson with the Missouri State Highway Patrol and Sheriff Deputy Pierson was shot three times by a gunman after the two tried to remove him from the property where the gunman was staying. Miraculously, the two officers survived and are recovering well.

I continue to pray for their recovery and for their safety. The situation could have easily turned out worse. What started as a simple action resulted in a seven hour stand-off and two officers shot in the line of duty. That is how easy it is for an officer’s day to go from routine to deadly. There are depraved people out there who are willing to commit the worst atrocities we can imagine: drug peddling, kidnapping, sexual assault, and murder. The only thing pushing back against the tide of crime is the thin blue line.

It is a horrible truth that nowadays the badge and uniform can also place a target on our officers back–too often they are marked for attacks and ambushed in the line of duty. Let me be clear: an attack on law enforcement is an attack on all of us. When law enforcement is threatened, our way of life is threatened. We should be doing everything we can to back the blue. It doesn’t help that our officers are being disrespected on the streets and by leaders and media outlets in our own country. Take for example the New York Officers who were doused with water while out on patrol. This level of harassment only contributes to the ongoing assault on our officers, leading people to think this kind of behavior is acceptable.

I for one, will never take the sacrifices of law enforcement for granted. In fact, I see room for improvement in our state government. There are things we can be doing better, which is exactly why I am running for Senate; I want to find ways to help make the job of law enforcement easier and to protect them both on and off-duty. For example, I would consider sponsoring legislation which would make it mandatory for Missouri citizens to call 911 if they see a uniformed officer in distress. This would ensure that we as a society are on the side of law enforcement. It would also punish individuals who would use their phones to take a video of an officer in distress and put it on social media, as was the case when Officer Michael Langsdorf was shot and killed in the line of duty, and a video of him in distress went viral on social media.

Our police officers deserve our full support. I aim to be an advocate for our first responders in Jefferson City, valuing and listening to the opinions of law enforcement at a municipal, county, and state level. I never want one of our boys in blue to go out on the street worried whether they have the support of the community or not. I will always stand on the side of law and order against those who would break our laws and do us harm.