Law enforcement lives matter
We’ve all likely heard about the Black Lives Matter movement involving large groups of people over the past few years campaigning against violence and systemic racism. The group regularly holds protests against police killings of black people and broader issues of racial profiling and police brutality.
As I drove around the area last week, I stumbled across something with a little different twist. It wasn’t a large group, but rather a single person holding a sign declaring, “Law Enforcement Lives Matter.” Todd Pearson of Spring Valley is on a personal crusade to show his support for police officers. He’s hitting various communities around southern Minnesota during his days off from his regular job.
Focusing on law enforcement is not to downplay the importance of anyone else’s life, Pearson said. “Law enforcement serves because everyone else’s lives matter. They lay down their lives for people who hate them,” he said.
Pearson told me he has a particular passion for people in law enforcement. “I worry about what officers face and how it’s easy for people to resent them,” he says.
The one-man crusade, which is actually part of a larger religious group, started after all the recent attacks on law enforcement that have been “blatant,” in Pearson’s eyes.
Pearson said he hits the streets specifically to “reach out to the law enforcement community.” During his crusades, which can last up to several hours, he always tries to stop and thank officers for what they do. “I want officers to see me and it’s nice to see the smiles on their faces when they do,” he said, adding he also has small conversations with other people about why he’s out and about.
Many people, Pearson says, see law enforcement as a career built with people who don’t care or who like to be in the position of power. But he believes none of that is true.
“They are the most caring people,” Pearson said. “They genuinely want to help people and they love their fellow men. They do not consider themselves better than anyone else,” he said.
Police officers, Pearson said, are forced to deal with many ugly scenes involving domestics and deaths. “You can only go to so many fatal accidents. They have to deal with irate domestic partners who can turn on a dime,” he said.
Pearson is familiar with law enforcement as he has a brother serving as a police officer in Caledonia.
Part of the problem, he said, is that police officers often are not allowed to have any emotional needs. “They can’t talk about it with their families and it changes them because they bottle things up,” Pearson said.
Pearson’s sign also references a scripture passage from Romans 13, which speaks about serving as God’s administers of justice. He said the Bible reference is perhaps the biggest part of his message. “Christianity especially supports law enforcement,” he said.
“God has ordained authority to control society to keep criminals from running rampant,” Pearson said. “When I look at police officers, I’m reminded what God has done in his mercy and grace to quell evil. I want people to look at law enforcement and think of God and what he has done.”
The violent attacks around the country reflect poorly on our society, Pearson said. “People want to place blame on the men and women who are in positions to enforce the laws,” he said. “We see a rush to judgment on law enforcement. As soon as a story comes out, people think that the officer is guilty,” he added.
Pearson hopes his movement will grow within time as more people go in hot pursuit of supporting law enforcement.