“Officers are often serving in a dangerous job and many are tragically injured or killed every year.” Good point; all people no matter their dress or position are equal as lives, for who are we to judge.
That said, there is never mercy when an officer is killed. But there is gracious mercy when an officer kills or injures unnecessarily. There are a lot of things tough in the world, and not much that is not.
Every reckless death or inflicted injury by an officer anywhere is a big deal, bigger in some ways than the injury or death of an officer in the line of duty, because the nature of police work is to seek out and intervene in crime, whereas the common folk are simply living their lives with a different set of variables. When police barge in on common lives and inflict pain and suffering it is exceptional. Arrogance toward police is not an excuse to inflict harm; it is the pill they must swallow. Humility toward our fellow man is equally superior whether we are police or other, and arrogance is equally trash whether from police or other. We have not imbued police with the right to punish arrogance. Similarly, we have not the right to punish the arrogance of police, though it should usually result in quick and natural dismissal. The humble and honorable officer is the only one fit to police a free nation of liberty.
So what should we see when a humble and honorable man inflicts pain and suffering wrongfully on another citizen? Expect the man or woman to stand forward transparently and demand the harshest critique and the harshest consequences that would be expected by the same act in any of the subjects they are there to protect. If not, what should the officer expect? They should expect dishonor and a harsh and ruthless trial followed by the same or stricter judgment and consequence as for any citizen. Anything less will diminish the honor of all police. The officer who would do that is a coward and a disgrace, while fellow officers, superiors or courts who would aid or encourage that are short sighted and ignorant, serving to destroy the capacity of united states police forces to walk with dignity and natural respect of thankful citizenry. Every life is equally value regardless of the garb, culture, or color. Not a knee in the back, not a broken tooth, not a bruise shall be inflicted on the innocent citizen walking in their liberty. Then police will have the easy job and predominant public support. Mistakes demand deep humility and reticence to suffer for the wrong that was inflicted; without it, police are just another set of goons in our lives who act both to protect and to harm while ultimately protecting themselves. Respect comes through honor and integrity of action in the most difficult time. Every time they shirk it, they lose it, and it is hard to regain.