Six members of the Tempe, Arizona police department were recently asked to leave a Starbucks by one of their employees. Apparently a customer complained that they were made to feel uncomfortable by the police presence. Starbucks has issued a statement apologizing for the incident. An apology in itself is insufficient for this gross injustice. When African-Americans were asked to leave for different reasons, Starbucks closed all their facilities for “sensitivity training.” Perhaps Starbucks employees need sensitivity training on how to treat law enforcement officers. Starbucks employees (and the some of their customers) have little appreciation for the role of law enforcement and where our society would be without their presence. Without a police presence, there would be lawlessness and complete anarchy. Picture rioting in the streets and looting of businesses; that is a world without law enforcement. Police officers are called upon to perform everything from assisting in the delivery of a baby to chasing down a killer or engaging in a deadly gun fight. These are devoted individuals who care about their communities. They risk their lives each and every day to protect us. Each is deserving of our respect and gratitude, yet they are often greeted with insults and even ambushes. These individuals frequently have served in the military and that sense of duty and commitment has continued once they returned home. The incident at Starbucks is a total disgrace and an apology just doesn’t cut it for me. An apology doesn’t erase the hurt pride and the humiliation that these officers were forced to publicly endure.
I propose a total boycott of Starbucks by law enforcement and those of us who cherish our men and women in blue. Cops aren’t perfect, but they are doing the best job possible under tense and trying circumstances. The media seldom reports any police action in a positive light and often feels that force and use of firearms is not justified. Officers must protect themselves as well as others and self-defense is everyone’s first reaction. These brave individuals have families that they willingly leave them behind to protect others and uphold the law. They have one simple goal in the back of their minds; to return home safely to that same family. The criminal element has declared war on the police and our law enforcement know that each day could potentially be their last. Not many workers go to a place of employment with that thought hanging over them each and every day. I will happily share a restaurant or dinner table with an officer in blue, knowing I am safer for his/her presence.