“You make a positive difference in ways you never really understand”

Jim Camp, JD

MADD State Advisory Board Chair, TN,

MADD National Law Enforcement Committee

Pres. Dynamic Messages LLC (Training and Consulting)

Ret. Elected District Attorney WI, Ret. Assistant District Attorney General & Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor TN

 

In today’s politicized law enforcement environment, you hear elected officials calling for the defunding of police. A number of folks have even suggested that officers hand over the duty of traffic enforcement to municipal workers. You have heard senseless arguments that a suspected impaired driver asleep in a fast-food drive-through is not dangerous and should not be approached by law enforcement. All of this can make you want to quit. It is no shock then to see officer retirement numbers rising around the country and with it a rise in deaths due to impaired driving.

In times like these those of you in law enforcement and prosecution need to take stock and remember that your calling allows you to do something few other beings ever get a chance to do. You have the opportunity to serve, to help, to change, to save and to touch the lives of those with whom you share this at times not so common existence. Despite what uninformed others may say you DO make a positive difference!

You make a positive difference in ways you never really understand and seldom think of. Like every time you assist a grieving mother through the painful court process as she struggles to make sense of the loss of her only son to a selfish drug and alcohol impaired driver. You make a positive difference every time you are the focus of an angry and irrational father who’s entire family has been violently removed from his life and who can’t understand why the court system allows the idiot who killed them to be out on the street and still driving a car. You even make a positive difference when you stand respectful yet tall and proud while a misguided citizen takes out their frustrations on you for doing the right thing.

But there is one other thing to remember. A very big thing.

Every time you take an impaired driver off the road you are preventing a homicide, because every impaired driving case is a potential homicide.

It is here that you must stop and take stock. You must look to those who would otherwise have perished on our highways if not for the work you have done and continue to do. You must also look to those who would otherwise have grieved but for you. You do what few others have the courage, the strength, the knowledge, or skill to ever hope to do. You have the opportunity to make a positive difference and prevent tragedy. You save lives. You do God’s work. Very few others can make that claim.