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Opinion: Live PD Chase Highlights Need for Change

kassy alia

Everyone is talking about the scene that occurred on Saturday night’s Live PD episode.

The scene shows Richland County Sheriff’s Department deputies in a high speed chase through Columbia. The car crashed and flipped over. What follows is emotional – a man emerges from the car with a toddler in hand. A struggle between the deputy and the man ensues with the child still in his arms. During the struggle, you can hear the deputy call out, “That’s your baby! Let go of the baby!”

As I watched the clip, I began to cry. It was heartbreaking from all angles. I pictured my own son, only two years old, in that same scene and it made me want to jump through the screen to help the little girl. I thought about the deputy; I thought about how heartbreaking it must be for him. I imagined what he must be going through following those events, how hard it would be to recover from something like that. And I thought of the man – what could have led to such a situation? What could have prevented it?

At this time, there is so much we don’t know. I imagine details of the case will come over the following days, weeks and months. Yet, the news is out there and many have voiced strong opinions about it.

Technology can be both a blessing and a curse. It provides us with the opportunity to engage with news immediately and to share our ideas with others. That ability to connect is a powerful tool – with each post we share, each comment we make, we are touching others.

In our community, we have seen how technology can be a force for good. Following the flood in 2015, Facebook pages like Hospitality Helpers and Soda City Connectors helped people identify those in need and rally resources to help. It is time that we reengage our resources and reconnect with one another to help those in need.

The Live PD clip shed light into what police officers experience all too often – heartbreaking examples of people in need of help. Through our work with Heroes In Blue, a non-profit organization committed to promoting police and community relationships through empathy and action, we have heard story after story about police coming across such situation and we have heard how they often find ways, sometimes out of their own pockets, to help as best they can.

And they aren’t doing it alone. Organizations across our community are actively working hard to help those in need, Organizations like Palmetto Place Children’s Shelter, Cancer of Many Colors, USC Dance Marathon, Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands, St. Lawrence Place, Family Connection, Harvest Hope, JDRF, and too many more to name.

When cases like the Live PD event happen, we have a choice. We can choose to watch from a far, share our opinion and move on, or we can take a more active approach. We can seek organizations that are doing outstanding things and find ways to help through volunteering or donations. We can use technology to share ideas about resources and support each other in responding compassionately to all those involved in the stories that emerge. Or we can even just say thank you to law enforcement and community leaders who work tirelessly day after day to make our community a better place.

Not one person or organization can do it alone, but united we are powerful. Together we are a force for good – we can use our technology to lift one another up, to be kind and compassionate to one another, and to encourage one another to get involved in making a difference. We can see cases such as these as a reminder that we have much work left to be done, and use it to arm our hearts with the strength and love needed to bring change from the bottom up. Change begins with us.

 

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