Pigs, Donut Patrol, Buzz Kill, Po Po, 5-0, Cops, Police Officers. What do I think when I hear the word police officer? Dad. Ever since I was little, I looked up to my dad. He is my hero, my knight in shining armor, the man who puts others always before himself. When he became an officer, it meant it was my time to share him with the world. He changed from just my man of protection to everyone's. I was no longer the only person who looked up to him and counted on him. Until I got older, this was all I thought people saw police officers as. Along with aging came a reality that I hated to see.

When I entered high school, police officers were now seen as the bad guys, the hated ones, the ones who were only out to get you. When did they turn from good to bad? Kids who were partiers or tested the law treated cops as the ultimate worse. They used terms that were unacceptable to speak of such people. Every time I overheard someone speak of a police officer or their encounters with them got me angry. Not once did I hear someone praise an officer or speak well about one. It was always how they were out to get them because they were "just hanging". Well "just hanging" was taking part in illegal acts, but of course this didn't seem wrong to them and it was the police officer who was the bad guy.

From high school to in the news too often lately, this hate continues. All over the news seems to be cases of police officers acting violently against citizens. From Michael Brown in Ferguson, to the recent dash cam video released of Timothy Runnels using excessive force at a stop, to multiple cases in between. Everyone is up in arms about the force police officers have been using and the misuse of power that has been occurring. These cases have been major issues and brought up valid points about law enforcement and some officers, yet some being the key word. Ever since these awful stories have been in the news, the image of police officers has been tainted. It seems the majority of the stories in the news is anti-police and that there has only been injustices occurring.

I am not saying that what has happened recently and frequently is acceptable. Some of these officers in cases shown in the news have been in the wrong. But these officers do not represent every other police officer and departments as a whole. No matter what profession you have, there is always going to be a few people who do wrong and act differently. But if you stereotype or make generalizations, and call everyone something upon a few things you hear or see, then I'm sorry to say but you are just being ignorant.

As a daughter of a police officer and just a fantastic man overall, of course I will be a little biased about my dad. However, this is with my biased opinion aside. I am not saying that these officers were right in their abuse of power and excessive force used. I am saying that these officers are a few, even though it may seem like hundreds, out of all the good officers there are in this country and others. Let us not forget why we have police officers and all the good they do for us. They are here to protect us and do what is right and good. They are our saviors and heroes at times. Not every day are they stopping a mass murderer, but they are doing good. Besides stops that take place to ensure the law is being followed, they are checking on the wellbeing of citizens, helping animals, protecting us from evil, and doing what is necessary to try and keep right in the world.

My dad will always be my hero, as he should be for me and others. Not only do I look up to my dad, but to other officers as well. They are putting their lives at risk for us on a daily basis and are not thanked or given gratitude enough. When I see a man or women in uniform, the first thing word I think of is grateful. I am grateful to have these men and women putting others before themselves and ensuring what is right is being done. Now being pulled over for speeding when you're late, or getting a ticket for not having your inspection up to date is never fun. But they aren't doing so because they are out to get you, they are doing so because it's the law.

All that I ask is that next time you see an officer, don't jump to your first thought that is affected by media. Don't allow all the negative images and thoughts cloud your mind from people who have had bad experiences with officers. There will always be bad apples in groups of people, but this isn't the majority. If you think of this and see the good in officers, please say thank you once in a while. These officers have people in their lives that they love and care for, and vice versa. They are humans too and they are putting themselves out there to protect others. Take this into consideration next time you want to call that police officer a pig or other less kind words. My dad will always be my hero-- that is what everyone else should be able to see him as too.