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First Responder Mental Health..

by Jennifer Walters 5 months ago in opinion

Why we need to look at fixing the system for the first responders...

June was PTSD Awareness Month. We recognize PTSD in soldiers, in abuse victims, in sexual assault victims but when it comes to first responders we hide it in the shadows. We expect them to "suck it up" and we don't recognize "Warrior syndrome." Warrior Syndrome is not in the DSM, it is not a clinical term but it doesn't make it any less real. The repeated exposure to trauma, is a trauma itself. It fundamentally distorts the perception and response to the world view. We are entrusting first responders with a sacred duty, " To Serve and protect" but in this country we are not serving and protecting them. From equipment that is inadequate to departments not concerned with not even their physical much less their emotional wellbeing. The expectation that they "solider on" under what have become war like conditions they are not trained for, with threats of violence not only by the public they serve, but also working in departments who view them as replaceable. Human beings are not replaceable, or able to undo systematic stress for long periods of time. Our brains are not built that way, it changes the functioning in our brain. Sleep deprivation has been shown in studies to be as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. This is just one of the major things first responders are subject to, add in life and death scenarios, no time to regroup, rotating shifts from day to night, lack of proper eating habits, familial stress, working off-duty to supplement the wages that are familial and you have a recipe for trauma and mistakes through no fault of their own. Then we stigmatize it when they ask for help. Can we say failure.

One of the biggest stigmas in law enforcement is mental health. It is also something the World Health Organization should be classifying as a national health crisis especially since the start of the pandemic has brought about a war on law enforcement by the people. I shudder every time I read an article about three things, an officer lost to suicide, an officer losing his/her job because of some act that really is just way to get rich quick by someone with no respect for the law anyway and an officer who is unjustly fired for doing their job. The war on law enforcement has to stop and agencies like the ACLU have to stop encouraging people to attack law enforcement unjustly. Apps to record police interactions are not leading to police policing better they are giving people a way to "get rich quick at the expense of law enforcement agencies.

If it is warranted yes, but there are procedures for that, ( not that those remedies have done anything to help me for the last two years), but this Georgia and it is ass backwards. To knowingly provoke a first responder to get 15 minutes of undeserved fame, and money, some ambulance chaser lawyer will use to get into the national spotlight is destroying the fabric of law enforcement. When they do something like leave a woman in a car for two and a half months and for two years, covering up rape and domestic violence these are the cases that should be in the media but they don't care about that in Georgia.

I venture to guess in the near future we are going to see something that can o nly be classified as "First Responder Syndrome", a type of Complex PTSD associated solely with being a first responder. Where stress meets vicarious trauma, trauma itself and PTSD caused by repeated exposure without safe guards.

Nothing kills a cop quicker than being put under the most amount of stress possible, with no support, and thinking the citizens he has dedicated his life to are the enemy. That is what has happened since before this pandemic started. When officers are afraid to go to work, police chiefs want to quit and officers are put in the line of fire because of bad policy we are contributing to their demise in fact we the public are the aggressors.

One case should not destroy the fabric of law enforcement as we knew it. Let's be clear..George Floyd was a criminal. That is fact. Floyd was stopped by police or charged at least 19 times in his adult life, for crimes that anyone else would be serving a life sentence for. George Floyd moved to Minneapolis in 2014 after being released from prison in Houston, Texas following an arrest for aggravated robbery . On May 25, 2020, Floyd was arrested for passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a grocery store in Minneapolis. He was under the influence of fentanyl and methamphetamine at the time of arrest Floyd has more than a decade-old criminal history at the time of the arrest and went to jail for at least 5 times. George Floyd was the ringleader of a violent home invasion . He plead guilty to entering a woman’s home, pointing a gun at her stomach and searching the home for drugs and money, according to court records . Floyd was sentenced to 10 months in state jail for possession of cocaine in a December 2005 arrest. He had previously been sentenced to eight months for the same offense, stemming from an October 2002 arrest. Floyd was arrested in 2002 for criminal trespassing and served 30 days in jail . He had another stint for a theft in August 1998.

Am I saying he deserved to be dead-no, am I saying he was ever going to be a lawyer , doctor or anything more than who he was. To glorify his death, is nothing short of insanity. He could have prevented his own death, if he would have just followed basic commands and cooperated. This is fact. Watch the video. He is not behaving like he has an ounce of common sense. He is trying to provoke the officers, which if you do some research is what he always did when he had contact with law enforcement. He was not an innocent man attacked because of racial profiling. He was a convicted thug. To build statues in his honor, even worse. To glamourize a street thug, call him a hip hop artist, turn every evidence based method of policing on it's ass because ONE, ONE "man" and I use the term loosely who had no issues beating women committed a crime while high, and antagonizing law enforcement criminalizing law enforcement officers for doing their job - then to reward his family, make him into an icon, a martyr for Black Lives Matter - who quite frankly if you read the news has some questionable leaders who are not promoting African American culture but superiority (and if they were white would be classified as a hate group) while provoking citizens to destroy public property in the name of "equality."

Do you know how long ago the Civil War happened? 160 years there abouts. So here we are in 2021, Critical race theory is teaching children that they are oppressors from the second they are born, that children who can't even hold their own heads up are born with the cognitive function to hate- Racism is not born, it is taught, not born. Do we see any other race demanding reparations in 2021- Japanese Americans are not asking for money from the "Concentration Camps" of World War II in California, or Muslim Americans asking for reparations after the events of 09/11/01.

Groups like the Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis, Skinheads. Militias, Anti-LGBT, Male supremacy, Anti-Muslim even Black Nationalists are classified as hate groups. They promote the superiority of race, gender, and sexual orientation over another and use violence to promote their beliefs. Sould a a little familiar?

Hate Speech is only considered illegal by the US Supreme Court when it is used to incite actions that would harm others.

Hate speech is any form of expression through which speakers intend to vilify, humiliate, or incite hatred against a group or a class of persons on the basis of race, religion, skin color sexual identity, gender identity, ethnicity, disability, or national origin that results in an action. It is not the expression of one's opinion, assumption that would lead someone to make a conclusion or even merely saying "I wish" - If there is no actual result of harm, or ability to even do make said wish true to anyone there is in fact no hate speech. Saying someone should be held accountable for something, stating facts, providing evidence in support of it or even thinking a particular person should be dead is not a crime. Do victims of rape not wish they had shot their rapist when it was happening- I do. Still do two years later, and I will not apologize for that. The world would be better off. I am far more disgusted with how it has been ignored by the Brookhaven PD. Georgia law would have allowed me to protect myself with my firearm because of the threat to my life and being victimized and the physical injury being caused. Am I going out and buying a gun, since I don't have mine to hunt him and the Mayor and Police Chief who have left him on the street - No. Instead I use my right to Free Speech to state facts, and write articles about the their failures- not illegal and not aggressive, the actions of a rational adult who is pissed off at the system because they are bad and it may cost another woman their life someday. Totally understandable. Wouldn't shoot them if I could, I am not going to jail because they are stupid and ill trained and supervised. Am I going to ever be quiet about it- not likely. If you have ever met me you would know two things- I am only quiet when I am so hurt I don't know what to say or do, and if I wouldn't let it happen to one of my juvenile probationers without a fight (not physical, but figurative) I am not going to be quiet about it when I am treated worse they would be.

However, it happened in November 2018, I couldn't even tell you his last name, I don't have my firearm, and have no way to do it. Recounting law enforcement's bad response to not interviewing me and putting other people's lives at risk - is an educated opinion and recounting of events. I did Sexual Assault Response to hospitals and know the psychology of a rapist, things I knew for 20 years before it happened to me. We are not living in Minority Report. Law enforcement is not psychic and no law enforcement agency exists based on this theory.

When we look at Black Lives Matters actions - From Black Lives Matters own website "The project is now a member-led global network of more than 40 chapters. Our members organize and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes." This scares me, because the assumption here is that the state is racist, what power are they building? Are they working with victim groups to increase awareness of violence and drafting legislation changes to ensure it never happens again, are they lobbying Congress and writing letters, marching to the capital and peacefully organizing or is "building power" something like it brings up in my mind of them being vigilantes themselves.

Recently it was reported "As protests broke out across the country in the name of Black Lives Matter, the group’s co-founder went on a real estate buying binge, snagging four high-end homes for $3.2 million in the US alone, according to property records. Patrisse Khan-Cullors, 37 is stepping down." How is buying luxury homes related to equality? Sounds a lot like money laundering to me.

It's guiding prinicples are described as

Restorative Justice "We are committed to collectively, lovingly and courageously working vigorously for freedom and justice for Black people and, by extension all people. As we forge our path, we intentionally build and nurture a beloved community that is bonded together through a beautiful struggle that is restorative, not depleting."

Anyone think firebombing the Ga State Head quarters and burning down Atlanta is restorative? How is it restoring anything to destroy public property, and commit acts of violence on police officers? If you are doing this for "All People" why are your members beating white police officers almost to death? Doesn't the officer have some rights not to be assaulted because you think only Black Lives have any value.

Empathy "We are committed to practicing empathy; we engage comrades with the intent to learn about and connect with their contexts." Empathy is defined as "the ability to understand and share the feelings of another." Another does not apply only to African Americans. How is Black Lives Matter empathetic to everyone in the United States? They are proponents of superiority of African Americans and Critical Race Theory. I would beg to differ that any part of saying a newborn child is racist and an oppressor and saying any race is better than another includes anything empathetic.

Loving Engagement We are committed to embodying and practicing justice, liberation, and peace in our engagements with one another." Really are you kidding me? What is loving about starting a de facto war on law enforcement ? I am pretty sure that loving engagement doesn't include firebombs and rioting, but that is just me.

Diversity We are committed to acknowledging, respecting and celebrating difference(s) and commonalities." When they start acknowledging anything other than they are "superior", respecting everyone else's rights not to live in fear and be concerned about their safety because of what they are advocating, and celebrating that it is okay to be in law enforcement and even be black without using any form of violence..let me know.

Globalism "We see ourselves as part of the global Black family and we are aware of the different ways we are impacted or privileged as Black folk who exist in different parts of the world." I see a group of people saying they are better than anyone else, promoting violence, engaging in violence and brain washing people into thinking we can attack people for the color of their skin, and that it is okay to do so.

Keywords "Black"- Martin Luther King Jr would roll over in his grave

"Dr. KING: We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back."

The words "high plane of dignity", "we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force" , "must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny."

No where did he say burn down major metro areas, threaten police officers, beat them, and only black people have a voice and get justice. Does anyone remember this man was assassinationed in 1968. After the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, King told his wife, Coretta Scott King, "This is what is going to happen to me also. I keep telling you, this is a sick society." Sadly, he was right. Sadly we do not have him alive today to teach BLM where they are going wrong, to lead them in peace. Robert F Kennedy's response- an impromptu press conference with the people, where he said " "For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and mistrust of the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I would only say that I can also feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man" That is empathy. James Farmer Jr. said: "Dr. King would be greatly distressed to find that his blood had triggered off bloodshed and disorder. I think instead the nation should be quiet; black and white, and we should be in a prayerful mood, which would be in keeping with his life. We should make that kind of dedication and commitment to the goals which his life served to solving the domestic problems. That's the memorial, that's the kind of memorial we should build for him. It's just not appropriate for there to be violent retaliations, and that kind of demonstration in the wake of the murder of this pacifist and man of peace."

Black Villages "We are committed to disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, and especially “our” children to the degree that mothers, parents and children are comfortable." Sounds great right? In theory, but we have people in Georgia trying to buy a town and when they couldn't, buying a farm for only blacks, we have black mothers having as many children as possible and telling juvenile court judges "I have 10 kids, and two on the way- this one is hers" referring to a white juvenile probation officer, "He won't clean his room- put him in a Level 5 facility", Moving to Florida with their younger child and leaving their teenage son in Georgia in an empty, non furnished, apartment, with part of the rent paid, and no phone, saying "I don't know where my son is" to a probation officer when the child should be in her office, who is on an electric monitor and I am watching his monitor ping at his home. We have parents letting their pregnant 15 year old daughter (and no one knows where the other 6 kids are), live with her "boyfriend" who is a convicted felon in multiple counties in Georgia with a rap sheet longer then my forearm, because she is in jail in New Jersey for "not paying her rent." We have children living in a home with a wanted sex offender who the US Marshals end up arresting. Mothers, letting their daughters live in apartments with the man who sexually assaulted them.

Professor Daniel Nagin said "At the same time getting people to listen [to Black Lives Matter] has been greatly complicated by the lethal ambushes of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge." And it’s a hard problem because there are differences across racial and ethnic groups in the frequency that they commit crime, which puts some groups in contact with the police at a rate that is disproportionate to their presence in the population. It is clear that police presence at places where there is a lot of crime—I call this the “sentinel” role in policing—can be very effective in preventing crime. A simple analogy is that nobody is going to rob a liquor store if a cop is standing right outside. The key for police officers is using that presence to interact with citizens in a way that doesn’t create conflict"

But we have to also look at what are the citizens doing to cause conflict with law enforcement. Again I urge you to look at the history of George Floyd with the police. It is not one of compliance, and acknowledgement of wrong doing or even cooperation to avoid physical conflict and reliance on the judicial system, it is one of antagonization.

These are realities.

Don't get me wrong- we also have black mothers and fathers, felons calling and telling probation officers "Thank you , you are the only probation officer who has ever helped my son", Single black mothers who are nurses watching football games with they son's probation officer she and he invited to the game on a Friday night. However, we can't normalize anything about the bad examples. It is not normal. Floyd is not and will never be Martin Luther King Jr. nor should we even attempt to equate the two, because is tarnishes the Civil rights movement and the bloodshed nor should we try to create a race war based on critical Race Theory.

What George Floyd taught American children is to be a criminal, provoke law enforcement and you become a national icon. Even worse is that he is being used as the reason things like Critical Race Theory, and what can only be described as purposeful civil war has been created. Look at history, Rodney King. He was intoxicated, and fleeing law enforcement. California erupted in violence- 63 dead over 2,00 injured. A 3.8 million dollar verdict, over a felon who was an armed robber in 1994. Fast forward to the United States 2020 COVID Pandemic and we have repeated history- again. Have we learned absolutely nothing in the last 160 years, apparently not, we are now reversing an injustice with another injustice. A felon's family getting 27 Million dollar settlement for being combative with police who beat women. This is not about race, both are black men yes, but we have to look at a few factors here. 1) In a population with a higher number of "minorities" there will be more interaction with them. It is unavoidable unless you start putting equal numbers of races in any given area (I am not in the least recommending this). When a higher number of a certain population is committing crime there are more arrests for that population. You can't say well "You are African American and therefore yes, it is okay you committed a sexual battery so we threaten to arrest the white female victim, and we are leaving you on the street to yell "I own it, I own it " (it is happening in Savannah, Ga not that the Savannah Internal Affairs Unit is concerned. it happened to me in August 2019), or hey you are a child molester so it is okay that you threatened to have a white college educated non criminal stalked all over the South, and have her beat up by your girlfriend until she needs a hospital (Again it is happening in Savannah because the police department won't return an email), or you have a convicted felon, and African American woman commit a simple assault that even a sheriff deputy in another jurisdiction classifies as crime, that the Savannah PD didn't arrest and has now moved to Atlanta). These people are criminals, they are not the the people of these United States, they can't vote, they can't own firearms, they have to be monitored by Community Supervision Officers, we have black police officers, like Officer Derrick Roberson who sadly was given an award by one of my favorite former police Chiefs Joseph Lumpkin, dumping a white woman off on the front of CVS in the middle of night who is visiable pain - this one happened to me too in 2019 and the Savannah Police Department who went after a homicide detective for peeing after a DUI doing nothing and refusing to even return an email.

We also have a black man, a Salvation Army employee buy a white woman her driver's license, a man who used to be a criminal, stepping up to make sure a white woman could at least prove who she is because a black Chatham County Sheriff's deputy illegally seized all her credit cards, ID, Apple electronics (by the way he was one of my favorite people at my job as a juvenile probation officer before he wouldn't even let me in air conditioning and left me in the Savannah Heat for 5 hours, denied me medical care, and the Chatham County Sheriff's Department IA won't do anything). I would tell you a black Quick Trip employee let me use the phone when I needed to report the sexual assault and a black patrol officer offered to give me reading glasses because my contacts and eyeglasses were taken by a white female police officer in Pooler over a year before. It is not about race, race is merely a descriptor to identify someone. God don't like ugly, no matter what color, gender, religion, or gender it is.

Burning down police cars and cities in protest of a in custody death, precipitated by George Floyd not cooperating with law enforcement after committing a crime, with a rap sheet does not equal the peaceful protests of Rosa Parks, or sit in's in diners. Yes, Americans have the right to have their voices heard, even on the most ill conceived things, but the moment your right to protest interferes with a police officers right to go home to his wife and children, or execute his duties as a Georgia State Patrol Officer because you eluded arrest by not stopping your car, and put him in fear for his life when you were using your car as a weapon and want the tax payers to make his family into a millionaire, not because he was person who was shot walking on a public street to by a soda but but your sole argument is that he was a black man shot by a white law enforcement officer and therefore, the context of the situation is to be completely ignored - Houston we have a huge problem.

South Georgia law enforcement, and even the Attorney General today allow a white woman fleeing domestic violence by a police officer, who gets a dead car battery at a Starbucks, who was raped by a white tow truck driver only 5 months before, had been stalked, and assaulted by a her ex boyfriend, who while in uniform physically assaulted her, to have her animals , car, ability to handle or even see and appeal a lawsuit to get her job as a juvenile probation officer back, to be left in the street by that department, transported to anther county and left in the street weeks after a gall bladder surgery, and arrest for buying a cup of coffee, walking on a public street, who law enforcement took her only means of reaching anyone she knew, getting any assistance, preventing her from getting medical care (by law enforcement and EMT's threatening to have her arrested), to be molested by two strangers who were black males- and threatening to arrest her, and not them, depriving her of all of her property, her friends and being dumped in the street by case mangers from hospitals, domestic violence shelters allowing her to be threatened, preventing any of these violations of law being investigated by any agency including the Department of Justice and the FBI, while preventing her from even having the ability to hire a lawyer and assisting the the people who harmed her from ever being held accountable.

A Mayor, John Ernst attacking the victim of a sexual assault on LinkedIn because his police department told her to go to the press rather than take a statement about the assault - that is a criminal enterprise under the Federal RICO statute. That is not protecting everyone without regard for color and race. Floyd dying in custody because of his own ill behavior and being made into an icon is not even of the magnitude, but it changes an entire county and views on policing to the point departments are willing to sacrifice their good officers in order to appear to be politically correct. Without looking at race, or gender which does the public more harm- A rapist, two sexual batterers, departments full of officers in South Ga violating one of it's own Constitutional and Civil Rights leaving these officers to do the same thing to others for two years while their Police Chiefs and Mayors turn a blind eye, or officers protecting themselves, and using force to prevent harm to themselves and saying that just because of skin color an innocent former law enforcement officer is less important for telling the truth?

I am not saying his life didn't matter but we have to have the context. Why are we destroying every valid, solid piece of policing policy and having law enforcement be the sole principle actor when someone commits a crime, behaves belligerently and then because his own actions, that lead to a tragic but preventable death by himself, be the reason that his family became a millionaire 27 times over. Do you not think that someone somewhere is thinking, " Hey I don't feel like doing anything other than beating people up including a pregnant woman, resisting arrest and I have no respect for anyone so I am going to go commit a crime, swear at the police, struggle with them and see how much money I can get out of them...sounds better than getting up every day, making a living, paying bills, and doing anything to make the world a better place, and it's far less work.

Last year when Derek Chauvin was charged, with years of law enforcement under my belt my reaction was .. "my God what the hell happened." I watched the video, and what I saw totally meshed with my reaction. 18 use of force compliants, an FTO, a prone position for over 5 minutes, and more than one officer. However, how long was he a police officer-and what was George Floyd doing? These things matter. Do some research. I have. His behavior and pattern of conduct should have been a huge factor in the trial. It should be in the other responding officers. The question shouldn't start with what did the police do wrong? That starting point is erroneous on many fronts. It supposes first it was law enforcement's fault. Second, it negates any of Floyd's own behavior, instead of looking at the situation and saying "Outcome D is a result of factors- A, B and C proportionally . And then we have South Ga law enforcement not doing anything when entire police departments are targeting one woman for no reason and causing the trauma while her lawyer and police officer friends say and do nothing.

Two years ago, I was walking in broad daylight to buy a soda and was stopped and arrested by Charles Davis, who approved his own police report. I am a white woman, who was walking in a suburban area on a public street, after the same department had left me in my car in Starbucks Parking lot for months, taken my cats, illegally taken my car where there was not even a no parking sign, who got a dead car battery going to get coffee before I went to people I trust and considered family, who had her LSAT scheduled, had federal financial aid to got law school at the University of Alabama where she wanted to do public employee employment law, and federal financial aid to go Johnson University in Tennessee for a Masters of Counseling, and was planning on getting a counseling degree to assist First Responder's with trauma and write a doctoral thesis on the effects of training by the military and law enforcement organizational psychology . I had been sexually assaulted 4 months prior by a tow truck driver, I had been a victim of domestic violence by a police officer when having a nightmare about being sexually assaulted, and when coming home from going to the only man in law enforcement I trusted, my ex boyfriend a Dalton Ga PD officer while moving out of my $1000 a month apartment because my lease ended and rather than let me change it from month to month as my lease allowed, I was told by the property management representative, my apartment had been rented, which it could not be if I still had a lease, and was not rented in April 2019 when I went to get a Fed EX package that had been sent there.

I was threatened to be dragged through the back of a Pooler PD SUV by Ofr Lori McCampbell, just after having a gallbladder surgery, where the doctors dumped me in the street of Pooler, crying because I had no idea how they could arrest me for walking to buy a soda, but was was arrested for two counts of Criminal Trespassing- of where I don't know and they told me I had been banned from Pooler Parkway, forced to walk across that same street, alone without even contact lenses or glasses because mine were in my car they had illegally seized, met by Ofr, James Redd, Lt Kevin Woods (wearing Ofr. Carelock's nameplate) , Sgt Christopher Dotson, who refused me Miranda Rights, Lori McCampbell, and Ofr Lester, had my breasts grabbed by Ofr McCampbell while patting me down because she would not blade her hand out as she should have, forced to get in the SUV, with edema unassisted in the parking lot of a Dunkin Donuts while several witnesses watched. I was denied medical care prior to and while at the Chatham County Jail, and my diamond earrings taken by Deputy Thomas. All of this has been reported to law enforcement and judicial officials including the District Attorney Shara Jones, with no response. Who is more of a threat to the public, an officer arresting a career criminal or a department of police officers arresting a former Juvenile Probation Officer, who was developing a conference for first responders, legally walking on a major roadway in broad daylight who had just had a surgery, and had he car taken by Ofr. Rebecca Fereguson who left me in the street and whose IA won't investigate it despite a report being made in December 2019 by a woman who had dated a Pooler PD officer who had physically assaulted her and it had never been reported to the Command Staff nor has it because when I have tried they tell me to investigate it myself, I have the audio recording. I would say these officers who wouldn't jumpstart a battery, and when I was fleeing the domestic violence and committed more felonies than an entire law school could investigate in a semester.

George Floyd had a history of trying to bait law enforcement, resisting arrest and making allegations they were trying to shoot him. This had nothing to do with his color. It had to do with being a criminal, a known violent felon. He was not a Hip Hop Star- him and Drake, Jay-Z and Ice-T were never going to be on the same level. He was a career criminal. This was a man who knew what he was doing and had a pattern of doing it. Derek Chauvin tried to take responsibility for his actions in a court of law, Chatham County enforcement created a criminal enterprise of itself and no one has investigated it .. but the victim, with no help from the media, no help from civil lawyers, no help from anyone I ever knew. No one has taken responsibility and no one will.

Victims are being made by Brookhaven PD Officers everyday who won't investigate or collect evidence in a sexual assault. No one will take even just say "I am sorry the police department didn't speak to you, I will make sure it happens, so you don't have to live with what we didn't do right." That would have solved everything if they said it and followed through.

The Brunswick PD thinks throwing a woman into the street in the middle of the night and telling her to go sleep outside The Well in Feb 2020 was a great idea, and so does their Chief Kevin Jones. He didn't investigate, or even apoligize when told. At 18, I got a letter of apology from a Pima County Sheriff, his Sheriff made him write when he pulled me over for drinking an Arizona Ice Tea, took it from me, drank out of it and started searching my car going through my Senior picture clothes I had forgotten to take out of my car because my step-father's funeral was the same day and I couldn't bear to take them out because his pool cue was there.

Two animals were taken from the only mother they had ever known while law enforcement wouldn't jumpstart a car battery, and no one including the Ga Attorney General, sitting Juvenile Court Judges, law enforcement and everyone who has known have done anything. I was going to be a lawyer, I wanted to represent law enforcement, police officers would frequently tell me I should get my certification and become one of them, now the ones in South Georgia I am afraid of. I have nightmares of them watching me be raped, and giving a tow truck driver a high five as he walks away, I have nightmares of the Savannah Police Department when I was groped by a strange black man, threatening to arrest me- this actually happened, I have the police report to prove it. I can not get get medical care in an entire county because EMS and law enforcement threatened to have me arrested if I called 911 for help- this actually happened in Savannah, Ga in November 2019. I have nightmares about the the Pooler PD officer I dated punching me so hard I hit my front door and fell into my apartment because despite we were not dating I had gone to Dalton, Ga to talk to my ex boyfriend, who we never had a single fight, or cross word, because I was afraid and I had been raped 5 months before and I trust him. I wouldn't bother him at work and now the rapist is still on the streets because of the Brookhaven PD. Nothing has changed...however these cops make the good ones look like all of them. I know they aren't only because of the law enforcement outside of Georgia, who don't like them, and don't agree with what they did or it being covered up, and even the Georgia POST Council has told me to tell the media that won't listen. So if anyone knows both sides of this debate it is me. Yet I am told again and again- "you deserve what happened to you" by former friend Lanna Henze whose son, my former probationer, four months after I was raped, and just weeks after I was abused by my former boyfriend, took $25000 worth of my belongings and donated them, tossed into e street by Savannah Police Department, molested twice and neither subject was ever arrested. These people are far more of a danger. I have been attacked by felons calling me a prostitute, police officers telling me "You must have done something wrong" and threatening to arrest me for drinking coffee in a public square.

We have equated the death of a criminal with the destruction of law enforcement. We are literally dismantling every tenet of policing based on his death and not held responsible entire patrol divisions that need to be in jail themselves. We have villainize every police officer in the entire country based on this case, but have not held police officers accountable for destroying one white woman's life without reason. We are giving criminals the rights they should not be afforded. The pendulum has swung so far that the honest citizens are in danger because of the polices like those being proposed in Tx, that were implemented in Atlanta and we are advertising it. Kill a cop, get in a car and we are not allowed to go after you, unless we call an overwhelmed supervisor who is trying to do a million things and would expect any of their officers to be able to have the commonsense not chase a girl scout selling cookies versus someone who just committed homicide. Seriously, are you kidding me..It took 6 weeks to get a police report from the Chatham County Police Department in Georgia, who thinks $25,000 of property is a "civil matter" and back tracked on assigning a a detective..and this was handled by a Captain, Susan Fowler. Considering that, I would fathom if you were trying to get permission for a foot chase of a rapist he would have raped 10 more women, moved to another state and started all over again before you could get her to authorize a foot pursuit.

If you want to talk about perspective, my life has been destroyed by law enforcement for two years because I got a dead car battery and was a victim of domestic violence by one. I have had everything I owed from my animals to my electronics taken by them illegally, had them fail to investigate me being raped by a tow truck driver for 11 months and had everyone literally ignore me in Georgia law enforcement that I trusted, but I was one of them for many years. I haven't gotten an ounce of justice when cops are the criminals and yet I still have to believe what I have always known to be true..that aside from these bad police officers- police officers are not usually the perpetrator. In my case, yes. However it's Georgia. I will tell you this the good officers, they are suffering and having their lives destroyed because of the actions of bad ones.

It has been going on for awhile. My friend Kevin Grogen is an example. A Savannah Homicide detective who took responsibility after a off duty DUI and who was set up by the very department he served. He lost his POST license, and yet he is far more deserving of it then many of his former coworkers. Judge Thomas Bass the same judge who took my firearm in 2018 based on the allegations of two people who both have been investigated by the GBI, Jennifer Davenport in May 2016 for shredding documents and Van Johnson, then Assistant HR for Chatham County that I have evidence may have foraged my separation notice, who said I was going to shoot up HR, Juvenile Court and Board Commissioner's. Places I had never been or hadn't been in years because of two events, I called the FBI because I was concerned for my safety, on the advice of a former police officer, and a Chief Assistant Public Defender and I called John Wilcher following that call because I may not have known what was going on but I knew something wasn't right. The next thing I know, Jennifer Davenport is filing in the Ga Supreme Court for sanctions against me and when they refused to grant them, she illegally took the case before the judiciary involved in the first illegal ruling- The Chatham County Supreme Court and Judge Thomas Bass, after having filed the same motion with the Judge who made the erroneous ruling under litigation , Louisa Abbot. Judge Bass happens to be the same judge who screwed Kevin Grogen. Once, bad judgement, doing it twice- an indication of collusion and bias against public employees such as a cop and Juvenile Probation Officer. Where is that firearm now? Who really knows. When Jennifer Davenport dropped the Writ of Injunction Judge Bass refused to return that firearm ..in December 2018, or the over 200 rounds of ammunition that were not ordered seized that I requested they take so that allegations like were made couldn't ever be made. Based solely on the word of a woman investigated by the GBI for shredding documents in 2016, and a then Assistant HR Manager who was also the subject of a GBI investigation relating to firearms 2017.

The point is, this those acts were the beginning of violation of my and Kevin's rights. Violations we have to live with for the rest of our lives. A cop and copish, having our lives thrown into chaos, for nothing more than being stand up people, even if if one of us made a legal mistake-that he took responsibility for. I didn't have anything to take responsibility for but I am still paying the price for it.

Police officers fired for making Facebook posts on having needed to get public assistance, officers arrested for murder because they were doing their jobs as Ga State patrol Officers. I could go on and on. These officers are not even close to the danger that the law enforcement in Chatham County, Ga is.

The good officers are why this is being written. The stand up men and women who were already going to work every day, kissing their wives, children and girlfriends goodbye on any normal day and not knowing if they will return. These days it has moved from the threat of a criminal killing them to the extra burden they may be arrested, charged, drug through the mud in the press, lose everything just for putting on their kevlar. The answer is not defunding the police. The Trump commercial that played during the election that started "Press One if you have been raped" is coming true. We are paying non victims and their families to destroy what officers have spent years and decades building, a career, endangering their families, homes and their very lives when they haven't done anything wrong. When they do the unthinkable, we leave them out on the street with no recourse for someone who just wants answers and justice, and criminals to offend again. We have to find a way to reward the good ones, and hold the bad ones accountable because the bad ones are affecting the lives of the good ones.

THIS IS NEVER THE ANSWER

Chatham County law enforcement couldn't police a paper bag. That doesn't mean the rest of the world should be attacking officers who are leaving home on a good day, knowing they could never return. If Georgia is anything it is an example of the biggest failure in law enforcement ever. Don't be a cop there, they will do anything but kill you to be right and don't care what they have to do to do it, or who they hurt. They make the Nazis look like Carebears.

The rest of the country, the rest of law enforcement, you are why this article is being written. You can reach out to someone you don't know and reassure her that she isn't at fault for being raped and that it is wrong that nothing is being done by any agency, you have listened to me cry on the phone for two hours when I was being threatened by a shelter advocate in a domestic violence shelter with dumping me in a homeless shelter in another state, who then dumped me in the street.

My friend, Christopher Hoyer -author and trauma expert wrote this amazing book- When that Day Comes..we have consulted on a project that will likely never be because I would have used the funds from the settlement with these agencies to fund it, as well as pay for law school. I haven't even been able to raise money on Go fund Me to get Justice for my animals or reestablish my life. I am not George Floyd. I had a very bright future before the Pooler PD, a family, a voice, a dream for the good officers. Better funding, better gear, better involvement from the command staff so there were not names in the paper, and trials of officers being killed to protect innocent citizens.

To the good officers- You have to take care of yourself too. Put together an "emotional first aid kit." What is going to comfort you in a crisis? What is going to remind you that you are still you and bring your head back into the game?

You have a go bag full of tools but what is going to save you? A picture of your children, a Bible if you need it, a stash of snacks, your favorite soda, or energy drink, a pack of cigarettes (and a lighter, because there is never one when you need it) , something that grounds you to you. I don't care if it is a teddy bear no one but you ever sees, a picture of your mom, something you can turn over in your hand, a fresh pair of clothes ( the simple act of changing your clothes can remove the emotional "Ick" that you physically feel). Your lucky socks, something you have a connection to, and always pen and paper. Not to write the facts, but a place you can write what you are feeling, that no one ever has to see, if you want to burn it later, go ahead, it isn't for the brass. We have to create a safe emotional space for ourselves, even in the heat of crisis. Our colleagues and even friends don't ever know us as well as we know ourselves. They will stare at you blankly, when you can't speak asking stupid questions. With an emotional first aid bag you can just have them grab it for you. You have to in your best moments plan for "what could happen" so jacked up you isn't fumbling for words.

Also, you have to have the sense to see when the organization is not going to have your back. I hate to say this but it is the truth. If you work for an agency that expects you to sacrifice everything, up to and including your life for them and they are not going to do right you when the chips fall on the wrong side, leave- you can't fix dysfunction that is so systemic it refuses to acknowledge when it is becoming the aggressor itself . Your safety is paramount, your life can never be given back to if you hesitate to defend your fellow officers or yourself and you are killed. Find a better department. Good officers should be the norm, sadly as the United States moves in the direction of defunding the police- it is not going to change law enforcement. It is destroying it. Before the eruption in violence against law enforcement officers departments were not funded well enough. Bad officers are allowed to carry badges when salaries are too low, training budgets are cut and command staff ignores their officers. Defunding the police and putting it in the hands of social workers, and uneducated civilians is not going to fix anything. It further erodes the confidence of officers in their departments. It leads to more officers being arrested based solely on public outcry. Police should not be governed by people with no idea what they do, how hard they work or why they do it. It should be governed by leaders who are strong enough to say two things- "If you are right I will back you to end" and "If you are wrong, I will not hesitate to get you out of my department if I have to investigate and arrest you myself." That is leadership- the ability to distinguish supporting your officers when they are unjustly accused and at the same time saying "My badge, my oath, my department, the reputation of my department are what will be the things that, if you violate them be the reason you will not be a police officer in my agency. If it means I have to look into myself and put you in handcuffs myself because I will not let you dishonor my badge, your fellow officers, officers who have died doing this job or yours, even if you will. "

To the people who are terrorizing the cops, this is what you are doing. This officer in the picture above is the one who has dealt with a hundred other calls that day alone. If he or she has been on the job for 2 months they have seen more in that two months than they would ever want you to see in your lifetime if they are a good cop. When you make their job harder, remember you called them for a reason.

To the cops who feel like this, it's time to take a mental health day. You can not pile trauma upon trauma upon yourself and not need a day or too to not answer an alarm. Call in sick, mental health is not a stigma. The moment you start thinking you need to "Power through it," you have hit the point you are going to get yourself or someone else hurt. Play hookie to date the cute girl. Your brass is concerned about crime rates and public opinion, they need to be concerned about you too, and if they are not, you need to be. Find a buddy you can have a beer with who you don't have to explain everything to. Think of it as an emotional sponsor. You are not an alcoholic, but the concept is the same. Before you get overwhelmed and make a mistake that could cost someone their lives, and yours, find someone who you can call and say " Dude, I am not ok, can we have lunch."

To the Command Staff, when your people are overwhelmed step up. You aren't working 12 hour shifts, upon 12 hour shift, dealing with everything from an amazingly sweet old lady hearing a noise to a felon who could care less about if you or him go home for that matter, all in the span of 5 minutes. I am not saying give your officers teddy bears and tea and cookies every day a 1400, but open your doors, let them know they are not just a badge number and a guardian file. Invest in your people emotionally, you don't protect them when they hurt people, you don't protect them when they won't investigate a rape like I have had the Brookhaven Police Chief and Deputy Police Chief do, but if they need 20 minutes after a bad call, let them have it. Irreversible trauma is created when you pile trauma upon trauma upon a person, law enforcement or otherwise.

The first step is Advocacy, the second is funding, the third is support and organizational changes aimed at promoting and preserving officers mental and physical safety. Until these things are made a priority and acknowledged, as a law enforcement officer you have to keep them in mind.

To the officers suffering, don't. You are worth more than becoming an alcoholic, divorced four times, who speaks to no one you don't have to. You have a voice, you matter too. Sometimes, saying "I am not Okay" is the most powerful thing you can do. It shows insight, self -reflection and character. The next step is to do something about it. Talk to someone. I don't care who. Don't shut out your family. Don't sacrifice yourself on the alter of being shamed. It takes far more strength to speak up, tell your story unapologetically , own what your truth even when others will not. Bandaids don't fix bullet holes- physical or emotional.

opinion

Jennifer Walters

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"Justice delayed, is justice denied" "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

Tattooed, Employed and has a Psych degree..Always on the look out for a group of Avengers.

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