Earlier today, I visited my local semi-rural convenience store. There were three Sheriff's vehicles in the parking lot, which isn't particularly unusual. There's a shooting range nearby, and I usually just assume that they are using it to stay current in firearms training. Pistols are difficult to shoot well, without a frequency of practice which is far beyond any level of effort I could sustain.
Walking to the door, I heard a “f*****g cops” remark. Perhaps that was meant as an insult—I probably looked like law enforcement, what with the way I was dressed, having really short hair, etc. Whatever. But it was an unusual thing to hear out here. I glanced at the person who made the comment, formed my own conclusions, and went inside.
I noted a few guys in there wearing various mismatched bits of paramilitary gear (camouflage, black “Sheriff” t-shirts, various boot styles, a boony hat, firearms in evidence, etc.). I didn't find any of that disturbing, because I expected it.
I did my business, and left. I noted on exit that the person who made the comment (and the vehicle) was gone, and that I had not seen that person inside the store. Off to the house, and nothing weird to report.
Every statement above is completely factual, and forensically useful. Not least because it provides a time-series of events, which is always important. Your mileage will vary with the effectiveness with which you teach the value of accurate reporting.
I regard, in general terms, local and regional government as
- occasionally annoying (why is doing this useful thing so difficult)
- occasionally useful (providing some service I use occasionally, periodically, or seasonally)
- enabling (maintaining existing infrastructure, and building new infrastructure)
- emergency (first-responder or disaster-response services)
Given the circumstances, a first-responder post pretty much wrote itself. But that maps to incident-response, and avoiding that in the first place is far more important. Also more elegant, more user-friendly, and far more powerful.