On the night of Thursday, July 7, the city of Dallas lost five of its law enforcement officers in a horrific shooting, disrupting an anti-violence protest.
The officers were doing all they could to protect people’s rights to protest, according to a video from The Washington Post.
“I guess it’s like a check; we write a check out for our life and hope it’s never cashed,” said Captain Randy Lewis, of the Rexburg Police Department. “When we take this job, and you know, we swear to uphold the law.”
Lewis said being in law enforcement is much more than simply writing tickets.
“Unfortunately, you know, I don’t think that the people realize that we are just like everybody else,” Lewis said. “We’ve got families; we’ve got kids that we want to go home to.”
Lewis said being part of the police force is like having a second family because they are all closely knit.
“It’s kind of sad, kind of disappointing because it is not the first time that there’s been some issues between police and citizens, and usually it has been handled peacefully,” said Logan Ballantyne, a sophomore studying computer science. “Last night, it seemed to be going well, and then, of course, all heck broke loose.”
Ballantyne is from McKinney, Texas, which is about 40 minutes north of Dallas.
Ballantyne said the way the situation was handled was sad, especially since the shooters probably did not know the police officers.
“The country is in turmoil because of somebody, and it’s created an atmosphere, a negative one, for a lot of the negative for law enforcement,” Lewis said. “But yet, the law enforcement profession, you know, is kind of a close knit thing.”
Lewis said it takes a special person to serve in law enforcement because they put their lives on the line every single day.
“Cops in general, I really do appreciate,” Ballantyne said. “All of my encounters have actually been very positive, and I’ve been assisted by them.”
Ballantyne said it is sad that situations, such as the Dallas shooting, bring things to a conflicting perspective about police officers and the community.
Lewis said the Rexburg Police Department has lost someone recently in a shooting.
“That’s the last thing police want to do is take another person’s life, and that’s not what we are getting paid for; we are there to preserve life and to protect people,” Lewis said.
Lewis said officers always have these thoughts in the back of their minds.
“One of these days, we might be in a situation, and it’s: am I going to protect you, or am I going to go home to my wife and children?” Lewis said.