Thursday, December 6, 2018

The lessons Vietnam veterans have to teach those who serve

Police Officers should learn from Vietnam Veterans

Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
December 6, 2018

Yesterday I read an article that broke my heart. Then I thought about how it happened to other heroes that I spend most of my time with. They do not see themselves as heroes, but they are to me, especially my own husband.

Who wants to be a police officer? Job applications plummet at most US departments

The Washington Post
By Tom Jackman
December 4, 2018

Chuck Wexler talks to police chiefs frequently, as head of the Police Executive Research Forum think tank in Washington. Recently, he asked a roomful of chiefs to raise their hands if they wanted their children to follow them into a law enforcement career. Not one hand went up, he said.

Across the country, interest in becoming a police officer is down dramatically. In Nashville, job applications dropped from 4,700 in 2010 to 1,900 last year. In Seattle, applications have declined by nearly 50 percent, in a department where the starting salary is $79,000. Even the FBI saw a sharp drop, from 21,000 applications per year to 13,000 last year, before a new marketing campaign brought an upswing.

And retaining officers once they’ve joined is getting harder too. In a PERF survey of nearly 400 police departments about voluntary resignations, 29 percent of those who left their police job voluntarily had been on the force less than a year, and another 40 percent had been on the job less than five years. 

At a PERF gathering of police chiefs and commanders from across the country in Washington Tuesday, many attributed their declining numbers to a diminished perception of police in the years after the shooting and unrest in Ferguson, Mo., and an increase in public and media scrutiny of police made possible by technology and social media.
read more here

If you want to become involved in this kind of work, here are some things to consider.

First the obvious risk to your life followed by the actions of a few, being taken out on you. The second thing to consider is there is a valuable lesson you can learn from Vietnam veterans.

You may be too young to remember this, but you need to know so that you'll understand the rest of what you need to hear.

This is what most people heard about Vietnam veterans. 
"Everybody's heard of the My Lai massacre"
This was just part of Vietnam veterans being attacked when they came home, called baby killers an oh, so many other horrible things.

What they did not hear, was the other part of this story.

— March 16, 1968, 50 years ago — but not many know about the man who stopped it: Hugh Thompson, an Army helicopter pilot. When he arrived, American soldiers had already killed 504 Vietnamese civilians (that's the Vietnamese count; the U.S. Army said 347). They were going to kill more, but they didn't — because of what Thompson did.
For the most part, Vietnam veterans knew what they did and were honorable in horrible conditions.

They ended up hearing that Afghanistan is the longest war this country fought, but here is the truth on that part.
DCAS Vietnam Conflict Extract File record counts by INCIDENT OR DEATH DATE (Year) (as of April 29, 2008 )
Year of Death Number of Records 1956 - 1959 4
1960 5
1961 16
1962 53
1963 122
1964 216
1965 1,928
1966 6,350
1967 11,363
1968 16,899
1969 11,780
1970 6,173
1971 2,414
1972 759
1973 68
1974 1

1975 62

Mayaguez Incident

1976 - 1979 0
1980 - 1986 0
1987 1
1988 - 1989 0
1990 1
1991 - 1999 0
2000 - 2006 5
Total Records 58,220
Not that what was going on in 1968 excuses what happened, but you get the idea. This video is with MOH Sammy Davis Jr. and his wife Dixie. He is talking about what happened to him when he came home, just out of the hospital, after his actions were worthy of the Medal of Honor. It is cut in between one of the Nam Knights reading his citation, so that you can know the full power of his story, against what he came home to.

What I am getting at is simply, no matter how they were treated, they were always honorable, and like Sammy, did not give up on the American people, or themselves. Many went on to serve in other ways. 

Many more fought to make sure that no other veteran would ever, ever be treated like they were.

Because of their efforts, courage and dignity, they managed to provide such a powerful force for good that the government finally had to do something about PTSD. Everything that came afterwards, was due to them.

The thing is, they knew what was in their core and it was good. It was a desire to serve and a will to do whatever they could to prove who they really were inside. Today, they are cherished for obvious reasons, and now you know what the not so obvious ones are.

So, if you are a member of Law Enforcement already, thank you for what you do for us everyday, no matter how you are treated in return. You show up everyday knowing it could be your last day. You save people from criminals, rush toward gunfire, respond to accidents and ever increasing mental health crisis situations.

ORLANDO, Fla. - An Orlando police officer is being honored for saving the life of a veteran who was threatening to commit suicide.On Sept. 3, Officer Wesley Cook responded to the report of an armed, suicidal man who was holding a knife to his throat in the 400 block of West Amelia Street. 

This is not a job that people do because they do not care. It is a job you do because they care so much. It comes with a heavy price, so please, make sure that if you need help you ask for it. After all, you must know how important that is since you made it your career to help others.

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