Not easy to be a police officer

>You can say what you wish about the dif­ferences between policing a small town and a city, but now and then something happens that should remind us that po­licing, wherever it is done, is dangerous.

That "something" most recently oc­cured in Greenfield, where a young man got into an armed confrontation with a police officer. The young man was shot dead. The officer was unhurt. But it could just as easily been the other way around.

In small towns, we have a tendency to take our police officers for granted. What, after all, do they do? They stop speeders, now and then arrest someone on drug charges, direct what little traffic there usually is, check on the welfare of resi­dents, handle dog complaints, stuff like that. It’s not exactly the opening robbery scene from "Heat."

But it’s important work, and on occa­sion, it can turn dangerous, as it did in Greenfield. That a young man was killed is a tragedy, of course, and we don’t have the entire story yet.

While we can feel sad for the young man’s family in Michigan, we should feel a sense of relief for the family of the Greenfield officer who probably never shot a man. He will have to deal with that, and for most police officers, wherever they serve, killing someone is traumatic. Because it was in the line of duty doesn’t make it less so.