Police officers are under a massive amount of stress these days. The job is enough to age you. When you add to that the pressure applied by politicians and others looking to blame the police for all of society's problems, it's a wonder anyone wants to be a cop.

Police work is tough. It's gritty. There are few rewards these days other than personal satisfaction for those who choose to wear a badge. It's a shame, but the men and women who don the uniform know what they are doing. They don't seek your pity or your sympathy, just your support.

Last Thursday, an entire shift of New Bedford police officers reported for duty and hit the streets without being informed that their lives might be in danger. More so than usual, that is.

At roughly 2:45 a.m. Thursday, a man with a gun pumped eight rounds into a police officer's apartment. The officer was out on patrol and therefore was not injured. Because no one reported the crime, it went unnoticed until the officer arrived home at about 7:45 a.m. He notified detectives, who began their investigation. As a result, there was no scanner chatter about the shooting. The day shift went to work without knowing what had happened.

Ar 3:34 p.m. on Thursday, police brass sent an email or a text informing officers of the shooting. That is roughly 11 hours after the incident occurred and some eight hours after it was first reported to detectives. During those hours, a full complement of police officers was on the street with no knowledge that a gunman had attacked a fellow officer's home and was still at large.

It is outrageous enough that no one thought it important enough to inform the public of what had happened. But imagine if this gunman wasn't through. Suppose his plan included stalking other officers with the intent to harm one or more of them? They would not have known they faced such a danger because no one thought to tell them.

That is negligence. Those officers should have been told.

Mayor Jon Mitchell will answer questions about all of this on my Wednesday program and I am told that Police Chief Joseph Cordeiro will appear later in the week. Let's hope the spin and the secrecy stops here.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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