Editorial: Understanding the Thin Blue Line


(Photo: Police Life)

by Luke Hastie, Special to The Simpsonian

What many refer to as the “Thin Blue Line,” is the divide between anarchy and the establishment of justice and order.

This line, which is metaphorical in nature, represents the men and women of law enforcement who, as a beacon of hope, maintain the balance between order and chaos. These individuals put themselves in the grips of uncertainty, risking their lives every day for the betterment of a society that, in many cases, does not deserve it.

As of late, our media have plagued our attentions with members of law enforcement who have not only dishonored themselves, but the departments and communities they serve.

As millions watch these dramatic scenes unfold, the perception of law enforcement are skewed and manipulated turning them into members of a system devoted to terrorizing its citizens.

However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Thousands of men and women who don their uniforms every day hold the sole purpose of protecting this country from those who threaten to tear it apart. They serve their communities with the utmost respect and unconditional love.

This does not discount the fact that there are few officers who do not brandish the ideals they swore to protect. Still, the actions of the few do not outweigh the courage and service of the many.

The watch of two Iowa police officers ended tragically this past week due to unbelievable circumstances. They began their shift not knowing what the future would hold, understanding the responsibility that they held in the community and the risks that they take every time they get in uniform.

Every day, men and women throughout our country and around the world answer the call and wade into the unknown, not knowing whether it will be the last time they see their families and friends. But they do it nonetheless.

They do it for those who criticize, ostracize and subjugate the work that they do and answer every call with open arms and warming hearts.

These two men donned their uniforms and once again entered into the communities which they served and loved. According to the Officer Down Memorial Page as of early November, 22,655 law enforcement officers have given their lives upholding the oaths that they swore to protect.

As a country, we are bombarded by the negativity that is seen by choice officers and fail to recognize the thousands that protect and serve us every day.

As an undergraduate criminal justice major, I had the privilege to meet one of these officers during an internship that I participated in this past year.

When I heard the news from family and friends, I was devastated for the families of these officers and for the departments they served.

However, a deeper feeling gripped me as well.

Learning about criminal justice is a topic that takes immense amounts of understanding and willpower in order to overcome the harsh reality that it brings.

As a senior applying for many prospective job opportunities, I couldn’t help but take a step back and look at the world that I have wanted to be a part of for the past four years.

I had developed skills and acquired knowledge to prepare me for the law enforcement field, but for a split second, I asked myself if this was what I wanted.

As the moment had set in and the overwhelming emotions began to subside, it hit me that no matter the darkness that tries to invade, there needs to be those that answer the call. There needs to be those who become the beacon of light to show the world that it will not be submerged into darkness.

That is what these two officers swore to be, and they upheld that ideal till the end.

Urbandale Officer Justin Martin and Des Moines Sgt. Anthony “Tony” Beminio didn’t think twice when they decided to go out on their shift, not knowing the outcome that would follow.

As a result we, as citizens of this great country, cannot think twice when it comes to supporting those who ensure that such a thin line doesn’t break.

Luke Hastie is a senior at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, who interned at the Urbandale Police Department last year. He hopes to work at the UPD. His mom, Becky, is an academic assistant at Simpson College.