To protect and serve all

     Growing up, I had to work in the family grocery store, where my father drilled into me that the "customer is always right." No matter how rude and difficult a customer was, he expected all employees to treat that individual with respect and provide them with top-notch customer service.

     The public expects the same of police agencies, which is why I've been somewhat surprised by the citizen backlash that arose when police responded to a 911 call placed by Casey Anthony, a suspect in her 3-year-old daughter's disappearance. Anthony made the call after crowds of protestors — gathered outside her parents' home — posed a physical threat.

     Yes, it's ironic that this woman called 911 for protection from the protestors, but failed to contact authorities about her own daughter's disappearance. And I don't dispute that it's truly amazing how she could remember every tiny detail about the vigilantes in front of the home, but couldn't recall the phone number of her daughter's caregiver.

     There's no doubt this 22-year-old woman presents herself as a shady character, who by press time, may be in police custody for her alleged involvement in her daughter Caylee's disappearance. But however unsavory she may be, she and her family still maintain the right to their privacy and police protection when needed.

     When taking an oath to serve and protect, police officers promise to preserve the dignity and respect the rights of all individuals, and to act with honesty, courtesy and regard for the welfare of others. Unfortunately, this pledge sometimes puts officers at the homes of people they don't particularly care for, people who are less than truthful, and people who may even be guilty of unspeakable acts. But this oath requires officers to serve and protect, even when their heart isn't necessarily in it.