"Don't waste your time on those people"
-Port Authority Police
Here's a long post about what I experienced and learned last night. Feel free to share this if you think it might help someone else!
Last night while in Port Authority, I saw a friend of mine named Albert. Albert is an alcoholic and I have been talking with him the past few weeks and encouraging him to get help and go to a program. Last night he told me that the “system” can’t help him and it’s basically the runaround. I shared that whether in that system or the system of alcohol dependence, it’s still a runaround, just with different end points. He agreed and said he would think about it, but wasn’t ready.
As our conversation was coming to an end, a woman he knew that was heavily intoxicated, grabbed the beer he had set down and drank it all, thus leading to a scene of yelling and the such. I did my best to try to calm down the situation by offering to take Albert to get some food and ultimately just praying for peace. All the while this conversation was going on, there were two Port Authority Police in the distance, I was pleading in prayer that they wouldn’t have to get involved. Eventually I was able to get Albert to walk away with me and calm down. At the end I reminded him that I am there for him whenever he wanted to get out of the situation he was in and I gave him my business card that has my cell phone number on it, and I told him to call me anytime and I would find a way to get him. He said thank you and went on his way.
After he went away, I walked over to the woman who had initiated the argument and explained to her that I was with an outreach organization that helps people that would like the help and asked her if there was anything she needed at the moment (something to eat, drink, socks, hygiene kit, ect.) She said that she was homeless, didn’t have anything, and that there was nothing that we could do to help her. I told her that we are there for her if she would like anything and to have a good night.
As I was finishing up my conversation with her, the Port Authority Police Officers walked over and asked me what I was doing. I explained that he was a friend of mine who I was trying to help and that we were just loving on the people who needed the love. He replied with “These people are garbage, don’t waste your time on them.” I told them that I had to disagree with them, and that my job was to love “those people” on their good days and bad - and today happened to be one of the bad days. I thanked them for what they do and for protecting us all and wished them a good day. They said thank you and told me to just “go and do what you do somewhere else”.
“Those people are garbage”
“Don’t waste your time on them”
Heartbreaking statements - especially from individuals whom people look up to and expect more from. But really, do you blame them for having that reaction?
A good friend of my who is a NYPD officer told me something that now stays in the back of my whenever interacting with the police or military or really anyone in uniform. He said that if you are a jerk as a person, then you are going to be a jerk as a cop. When you put on the uniform, it doesn’t automatically make you into a great person. But in the same way, if you are a good person out of uniform, when you put that uniform on, you are still a good person.
The NYPD, to include the PA police and ever other law enforcement in NYC are tasked with a near impossible task of maintaining safety and order for the city’s 8.5 Million residence and 55+ Million tourists that come to the city. They deal daily with disorder, frustration, public drunkenness, violent crimes, drugs, and the list could go on exponentially. If you are given the job to keep a certain area safe day after day and all you ever see is the same people causing trouble, harassing bystanders, and generally everything possible to make your one job difficult, it would then be completely understandable to understand their reaction. Especially if they do not know what grace, love, and compassion are - without those three things, I would say it’s impossible to have any other reaction.
So, as much as I want to be frustrated with the police in this situation, I really feel as though this is where I need to advocate for them just as much as for my friends on the street.
BOTH need love, BOTH need to be shown compassion. Thus, this is where I come in.
My prayer is that as I continually am faced with situations like last night, that I would be able to do both of those things for everyone I face. Please pray for me as I feel like this is also sometime a near impossible task. Definitely overwhelming at times!
Please pray for your local police officers. Please pray that they would tangibly see grace, hope, and love in their life, so they can in turn, show the same to EVERYONE they are tasked with keeping safe.
Much love my friends, thank you for going on this crazy adventure with me. :)