When a Police Officer is the Victim…

By Cameron Knauerhaze

It is not too often that we hear the details of when a police officer becomes a victim. We are accustomed to hearing just about everything else a police officer does, but the fact that they become victims is glanced over with almost a desensitizing word of,”well that’s their job.” Well, I am here today to tell you that it is not the job of our police to become victims. I will admit this post may present a bias or two from [me] the author, but after recent events around the country, and even locally, I would be remiss not to focus concern about the men and women that are here to protect us.

I have the luxury of working and living in Orange County, California. This week, the threat was a bit more real as I read about a Tustin Police Officer that was disarmed by a drug crazed suspect that slashed him multiple times on the face and body with his own duty knife . Thankfully, the seriously injured officer is out of the hospital now and recovering. Recovering physically is what I really mean. You see, that same officer will be expected to return to full duty in probably just a matter of weeks. He will more likely get some counseling and possibly be the subject of an internal affairs investigation about the incident. Then, the beat goes on–back to the street. And some will say, “well, that’s his job.”

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, the physical scars, the possible harassment from his peers and the court trial are just a few of the things he may endure. At the same time, we expect him to be inserted right back into the public to answer our calls and face high stress situations without skipping a beat. I am not writing this post to evoke sympathy and I do know that many of you do care for our police. What I want you to think about is that we are all human beings no matter what capacity we serve. We should remember this as we listen to and read the stories about another man or woman’s tragedy. Our judgement should be based on preserving all life and to not take for granted the people that choose to put theirs at stake for us. When we get desensitized to the point where we place an invisible scale on a person’s worth because of their job, race, sex, religion, or any other characteristic, I believe our world is in truly in jeopardy and man is working his way to extinction. Especially, if those that are to protect us from being victims become victims themselves.

To all crime victims: you are important, you are courageous, stay strong and fight the good fight, and let’s continue to respect each other for what we are-human beings.

I close with a quote:

‘In the end we are all separate: our stories, no matter how similar, come to a fork and diverge. We are drawn to each other because of our similarities, but it is our differences we must learn to respect.’

~Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

About the Author- Cameron Knauerhaze is the former CSI Board President and current member of the CSI Council. He is a Orange County, CA Police Sergeant with 16 years experience in patrol, investigations, and community policing. He has a Master’s Degree in Communications from Gonzaga University with advanced studies in Communication Apprehension (CA) and Social Anxiety Disorders.