'See me for me:' Milwaukee police officers describe life on the force, featured in video
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Some women of the Milwaukee Police Department are sharing what it’s been like responding to the protests, and how they're more than their badge.
Law enforcement career aside, they want people in the community to see them for who they truly are, which lead Officer Charrita Townsend to create a video featuring several women of MPD. It shows them on and off-duty. She shared the video on Facebook and it garnerned several dozen shares.
“In order to just pretty much try to spread love, to my brothers and sisters in blue. I felt like I had to do something,” she said.
The video was made during the height of the civil unrest in the city when people were protesting against social injustice.
Officer Larray Johnson of District 4 was on the frontlines. “You sit back and you look and it’s just, ‘wow.’ This is actually happening. This is actually around me.”
However, Officer Shamara Gonzalez says she understands people protesting in a peaceful manner. “All of our consensus was the fact that people should, but when it turned violent, when people started shooting, when people started popping off fireworks at us, it became difficult because we’re the police and we can’t just stand there and be attacked,” she said. “We have to do what we have to do, but that was emotionally draining.”
Despite those feelings, the women say officers are human too. “I just want people to see me for just me, not necessarily as Officer Townsend. People who know me outside of this job know me as Rita.”
In hopes of promoting healthy policing, the officers hope the video can help bridge the gap between the department and the community.
“I’m a mother, I’m someone’s daughter, I’m a best-friend,” Officer Johnson said.