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  • By Lt. Tim McMillan

Police Officers to Peace Officers

When it comes to police shootings, I tend to view them a little differently than maybe some others in my profession.

The consequences of pulling the trigger can be dramatic and irreversible. It is for that reason, I believe it should never be a consideration of whether or not we are legally justified in pulling a trigger. Instead, the only thing we should be concerned about is whether or not we are morally justified in our decision to use lethal force.

For those of us in law enforcement, we know our limitations, capabilities, or the varying alternatives we, have or don't have, at our disposal in any given situation. Therefore, with that knowledge, above all else we should ensure, that if we have to pull the trigger to our weapon, we would be able to look another officer in the face and say, "I understand and support your decision," should they have to do the exact same thing to one of our own family members.

Provided our actions are always morally upright, they will be defensively justified as being a part of the unfortunate violent nature that is a part of the profession. More importantly, beyond the view of public scrutiny, and in the silent realm of an officer's inner conscience, one’s soul can take solace in knowing that they acted as a peace officer above all else.

Maybe, ultimately that is where things have gone wrong. Maybe, we have lost sight of the fact that laws are supposed to be the confines of an organizational structure meant to house a society of peace. Therefore, no other operational goals or philosophical beliefs, should ever be placed above the maintenance and desire to have peace.

If the way we achieve or maintain peace creates chaos and instability, then ultimately we are in conflict with what we are fundamentally supposed to represent.

At the end of the day, the ultimate measurement of how successful we are, should not come from the number of people we arrest or imprison. Rather, the ultimate measurement of success comes at the number of arrests we no longer have to make and the number of people who live free.

The world has no shortage of people who are willing to wage and fight wars. Essentially, we don't need any more wars in the world, because no nation of people can flourish from prolonged warfare. So whether it be the war drugs or the war on violent crime, the consequences of war always come with the bitter taste of suffering.

No. What the world lacks are enough people who are willing to achieve great victories and not win trivial battles. Because the greatest victory is one that requires no battle to be fought. Likewise, the most powerful weapons are the ones that never have to be used. No. It isn’t a lack of warriors that the world desperately needs. Rather, it is peacemakers that the souls of those who have been lost cry out for. What we need are defenders and protectors of peace.

Ultimately, maybe the solution is just that simple. We don’t need to change how we police. Instead, we need to change how we achieve peace.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” – Matthew 5.9

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