Police officers have had quite a year in the news — with all of the recent coverage of incidents of police brutality, they are not always thought of as a general whole in the most favorable light. So when a drunk driver wrote a note thanking his arresting officer for saving his life and doing his job, the Internet was like, interesting.
When you think about the kinds of letters that cops receive, especially from people they've arrested, you don't think "thank you note" — which is why this particular gesture has made its way around the Internet. The man who got arrested early in the morning for driving far over the legal limit, sent to court, put on probation, and left to pay fine after fee after fine was probably not a man Officer Jacob Collins expected to hear from again.
But Officer Collins didn't gloat when he did receive the letter. He was just doing his job. Which is exactly what the letter thanked him for; for carrying out his duties without the use of excessive force, verbal abuse or humiliation. The officer just did his job. In his letter, the driver writes:
I write to express my thanks and gratitude to Officer Jacob Collins. Officer Collins pulled me over on Highway 74 during the morning of July 31, 2015. I was severely intoxicated. He saved my life and the lives of others, and I truly appreciate his actions and his efforts. I must emphasize that he was very polite and professional and did not provoke with intimidation. He treated me fairly, and I never felt ridiculed or threatened. I have nothing to gain from contacting you. I have already been to court and received my punishments. I contact you because the media and public opinion are saturated with images of officers using excessive force. Officers are constantly on the defensive. The public does not want to acknowledge proper procedures; the public merely wants to see an officer make a mistake to keep the argument and the social media images flowing. You all need to know that what you do every day matters, and we appreciate it. I do not like being on probation, and I do not enjoy paying a series of fines, fees and insurance hikes; however I am grateful to be alive. I thank Officer Collins and your entire department.
I think it's interesting that this driver feels strongly enough about police officers being underrepresented in media that he felt compelled to show his support for the force and make an effort to reverse the negative public image. Although one cop doing his job properly is probably not enough to flip a lot of the current public perspective, the man who wrote the letter is, at least, helping reframe a very real issue that people in his same situation might brush aside or even be frustrated by. Hopefully this man's decision to come forward and acknowledge the carelessness of his actions and the consequences he might have faced for them will help put the crime of drunk driving into perspective for other people who might have considered making the same mistake.