Gee: Police officers should be allowed to march in Pride Parade

Jun 22, 2023, 11:30 AM | Updated: 11:31 am

seattle police gay pride parade...

Seattle Police Department participating in a gay pride event in Seattle. (Photo: Seattle Police Department)

(Photo: Seattle Police Department)

When the Seattle Pride Parade decided to ban uniformed police officers from marching in their parade, it feels like a powerful moment was missed.

(Full disclaimer: Both of my parents were law enforcement — my mom was a probation officer).

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Let’s talk about how we got here. There are a lot of reasons why some people may not have positive feelings toward police officers in uniform.

1. Past negative experiences

Some may have had negative interactions with law enforcement officers in the past, such as being unfairly targeted or treated with disrespect. This has happened to me a few times. Unfortunately, this can lead to distrust or dislike of police officers, even if the police officers they see were not personally involved in the encounter.

2. History

Racism and incidents of police brutality that have occurred have been an issue. Rodney King was beaten on camera in front of the world, and those officers were acquitted. Then there are all of the stories of unarmed Black men that have been killed over the years. It’s not a matter of opinion, these are facts. A lot of the issues have gone unaddressed for years, and for that, it has put a cloud on law enforcement.

3. Fear

I’ve learned over the years that there are some folks that are flat-out scared of police officers in uniform. No, I don’t understand that, but as I said above in my disclaimer, my parents were law enforcement. Because of that, I was around police officers growing up.

Not everyone will have negative feelings toward police officers in uniform. Some people have positive associations with law enforcement and view officers as protectors of their communities.

If you do have that view, I think that is positive. You see, I believe 90% of police officers are outstanding. My problem is the 10% and the culture that has sometimes protected them.

I do believe law enforcement is doing a better job in holding their own accountable, but I wish it didn’t take technology for that to happen. Either way, I’m grateful for the progress.

I want to remind you that you can hold folks accountable and still love and respect their profession.

I mean, we hold our kids responsible when they mess up, but we still love them, right? There are a lot of men and women that put that uniform on every day and give 100% to protecting and serving our community.

Understanding and addressing the reasons behind negative attitudes towards police officers can help create a more nuanced and productive conversation about how to build trust between officers and the communities they serve.

That’s why this was a big swing and a miss. The chance to have Seattle police officers marching in uniform during the Pride Parade would have been really cool.

It would have been a signal of progress. Seeing this could have helped some that have a negative view of law enforcement. We can’t keep going like this. The constant drawing the line in the sand and pointing at others gets us nowhere.

So now that it isn’t happening in 2023, I believe we should make a goal for it to happen in 2024. Like my dad used to say to me, “If better is possible, good is never enough.”

Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Gee: Police officers should be allowed to march in Pride Parade