There are good cops and bad cops in any country`s movies. The images of police officers projected in pop culture are both heroes of justice and public enemies. On the one hand, they work hard to protect the lives and safety of citizens and maintain law and order, sometimes getting hurt or losing their lives. On the other hand, they come under fire for tipping off bad guys about crackdown information, performing coercive investigations or violate human rights.
In the city of Busan on Sunday, a group of teenagers barged into a police substation and created a disturbance demanding police officers to release their friends who had been arrested on car theft charges. The teenagers are now facing charges of an unlawful interference with police officers in the execution of their duties. Even though they were mere teenagers, it is hard to understand how they could think lightly of law enforcement officers to the extent that they raided a police substation and physically clashed with the officers, claiming that their friends were innocent. U.S. police officers, who take out their guns or wield clubs even at the slightest sign of an emergency, would never have let the teenagers get away with what they had done.
On Wednesday, two police officers in Ulsan, each at age 56 and 45, respectively, tried to save a 15-year-old autistic boy who jumped onto a railroad from an incoming train. The younger officer and the boy were killed in the crash, while the other officer had his leg broken. According to the police, the officers were taking the boy home after he was arrested for creating a disturbance at a motel. The boy had a nature stop on the way home but attempted to run away. When he was caught again by the escorting officers, he jumped onto a railroad, shouting that he did not want to return home. The officers would have come under tremendous criticism, had they survived but failed to save the troubled boy.
That day happened to be the 70th anniversary of the founding of the National Police Agency, making the tragic incident even sadder. Over the last five years, 82 police officers have died and 10,612 others injured in the line of duty. Korea has become a country where citizens walking on the streets late at night can feel safe in large part thanks to police officers` dedication to their jobs. Korea is considered one of the safest countries in the world in terms of public security. Despite some officers` misconduct, it would be a mature civil society if people appreciate police officers` hard work.