A young friend of mine recently became a police officer in the area. He loves the job. So far, anyway. One thing my friend learned from the get-go is how disrespectful people can be to a police officer, without the slightest provocation.

My friend said he was shocked at just how belligerent some people can be during a routine traffic stop. He said it is amazing how defensive some folks can be when simply addressed by a police officer. He said many people who are cited for one thing or another could have easily gotten away with a warning had only they kept their cool. In this day and age of cell phone cameras and rage, it's gotta be nuts trying to be a cop.

It is part of the culture now to distrust police officers. Politicians and the media have created a narrative that police are bad. Society is taught that cops are racist bullies, eager for opportunities to shoot innocent kids. It's garbage, but it sells soap on the cable news networks and viewers are too intellectually lazy to learn the truth.

Police work is not easy. In fact, it is damn dangerous. It is tedious. It involves long hours away from families and almost as many hours completing paperwork and making court appearances. Police work is not as sexy and adventurous as it appears on the network cop shows. Far from it.

The New Bedford Police Department is looking for kids between 18-23 years old to become police cadets. It's a fabulous opportunity for young people who are looking for a career in law enforcement. But why would anyone want to be a cop these days anyway?

Police work is a calling. It has to be, because who in their right mind would do it? I admire anyone who suits up every day to face the challenges associated with law enforcement in this environment. It takes a special type of person.

Here's to our front line and to hoping that young men and women will continue to answer the call to serve their communities.

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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