Voter Voices: "As far as policing, I just think there's a disconnect."
People in Michigan have some big decisions to make on November 3. So with the election just around the corner, we’re talking to voters across the state to hear about what’s on their minds in our series, Voter Voices.
Dave Todd has worked as a police officer for over 20 years in Southeast Michigan. Like many people, he's thinking about the future of policing.
On being a police officer
"I had always wanted to be a police officer, ever since I was a child, [when] you would play cops and robbers.
"When you first start, it's like you don't need a vacation. Right. It's the greatest job in the world. You get to drive a cool car. You get to carry a gun. You get to arrest bad guys.
"I remember having to respond to somebody throwing a rock through somebody’s vestibule at their house. And this lady was upset. I just remembered, at the time, I was so annoyed because I was thinking, 'I could be out doing real cop stuff. I could be doing the stuff I want to do.'
"And it hit me later that ... I wasn't particularly nice to her. But she was a victim, and I never saw that. And then all of a sudden it clicked. I'm like, 'Oh my God, like, that was somebody's mom...' And it was a really big moment for me.
"I actually like that part of being a police officer. I like how it changes how I perceive people."
On policing in America today
"When the whole pandemic kicked off, there was a lot of unknown. I just saw a lot of, kind of, I guess desolation. It felt weird because here we are doing the same thing. I'm doing the same thing. I haven't changed anything or what I'm doing. And yet the world around me has completely changed everything that they're doing. It was very quiet and then all of a sudden it was not quiet.
[For more Michigan news right on your phone, subscribe to the Stateside podcast on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts today]
"It's a bizarre feeling to feel like you're appreciated. And then and then all of a sudden you're like, does everybody hate me?
"I always thought I was doing the job to the best of my ability. And then all of a sudden, there's people talking about kind of defunding us, you know?
"Now, my community did not do that [but] it still doesn't make you feel good.
"If we want to talk about George Floyd. It's tragic. Anytime somebody loses a life, it's tragic. There’s no doubt about it. But with that ... I think I would be a horrible cop if I just pretexted and just looked at something from one angle and said 'this was done right,' or 'this was done wrong.' It's not up for me to decide that. Thank God we have a judicial system that I think works.
"It's been a crazy year. Here we are. We have people that are looking for justice. We have people that are afraid of of a sickness.
"As far as policing. I just think a there's a disconnect. You know, because of a lack of communication, because we aren't talking one-on-one. And with that, when that disconnect happens, anger happens. Fear happens. Riots happen. Injustice, or what people perceive as injustice.
"You know, we've just got to quit blaming each other and just start communicating, take care of each other."
Want to support reporting like this? Consider making a gift to Michigan Radio today.