Mantorville, MN - A southeast Minnesota sheriff is sounding off about political rhetoric aimed at law enforcement.

Dodge County Sheriff Scott Rose puts it simply - it's tough being a cop. His commentary was included in his most recent blog.

It’s tough being a cop. If our jobs weren’t stressful enough the way it is, we often have to deal with even more anti-law enforcement rhetoric during an election. We all try and stay positive, focused, and motivated to continuing our calling, to keep you and your families safe, and to get home after every shift to our families. This can be a challenge when our national media, government leaders, and even some of our presidential candidates use anti-police rhetoric to push the false narrative of systemic racism in law enforcement to gain votes and power – a narrative that became an obsession with some after the Ferguson shooting. Political candidates have made several false and inflammatory comments during this election cycle: Sen. Bernie Sanders, when asked by a black student at Benedict College for advice if they get pulled over by law enforcement, told the student, “I would respect what they (the cops) are doing so that you don’t get shot in the back of the head.” REALLY, Senator?

Vice President Joe Biden was asked what advice he would give to a black student, if she was his daughter, if she gets pulled over by the cops. His response, “If you were my daughter, you’d be a Caucasian girl and you wouldn’t be pulled over. That’s what’s wrong.” REALLY, Mr. Vice President?

Last year, on the five-year anniversary of the Brown shooting in Ferguson, Mo., Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted “five years ago Michael Brown was murdered by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Michael was unarmed yet he was shot six times. I stand with activists and organizers who continue to fight for justice for Michael. We must confront systemic racism and police violence head on.” REALLY, Senator? Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being with malice and without legal excuse or authority. President Obama’s Department of Justice found there was no criminal intent on Officer Wilson’s part. False rumors about Brown’s death, including the “Hands Up Don’t Shoot”claim, ignited violent protests in Missouri and the birth of Black Lives Matter, resulting in many officers being hurt, targeted, and killed because of this stoking of America’s division.

This inflammatory rhetoric and political pandering not only makes our job more dangerous, but it also erodes the relationships and trust that most members of law enforcement have worked so hard to develop in the communities we serve.

As cops, we believe there are things worth fighting and dying for. We know that not every problem can be solved through rational discourse - that some problems can only be solved through the application of force and violence. While we do prefer the former, we are perfectly capable of the latter when necessary. We believe that fighting what others fear is honorable, noble, and just - and we are willing to pay the price for that deeply held belief. Why? For most, it isn't a choice. It’s simply who we are. It’s how we are wired. It’s our calling.

It’s tough being a cop, and the cumulative stress of the job can really take a toll. These challenges are sometimes referred to as “The Weight of the Badge,” and can end up being too much for some to manage without help – resulting in officer suicides. We’ve seen too many of these right here in Minnesota over the past year or two. Nationally, we are seeing more law enforcement suicides a year than line of duty deaths. As a profession, we are trying to change the stigma of mental health challenges recognizing that we need to create a working environment where it’s ok not to be ok. It’s ok to ask for help if you need it.

Please don’t judge our cops based on some of these false and divisive comments made by politicians this year – it’s a tough enough job the way it is without having to listen to our political leaders throwing us under the proverbial bus while pandering for your votes.

Your Sheriff,

Scott