How do you understand what drives human beings to hate so grievously that some resort to senseless violence? I ask myself what it takes for these individuals to become so frustrated with their circumstances that they abandon reason for extremism. Is it truly a result of failures in our system of justice? Is it truly based in racism? Is it a radical attempt to exact self-proclaimed law and deliver punishment without trial?

Is it the majority or a segment of our population who have seemingly lost faith in the ability of “our” police to do the job fairly and without personal or professional bias? Why have a few seemingly lost all regard for the law and turned events involving law enforcement officers in Ferguson, Baltimore, Minneapolis, Baton Rouge and other U.S. cities into a license to take human lives, as we just witnessed in Dallas and Baton Rouge?

I do not know the answers to these questions, and if I did their meaning seems beyond my comprehension. What I do know is this — I have never been more thankful for, nor prouder of, the men and women who wear a badge and who continue to serve you every day, despite the risk. Our police have fallen prey as of late and if you are not yet concerned, you should be.

What occurred in Dallas on July 7 is an attack on law enforcement like we have never seen before. The three officers murdered in Baton Rouge on July 17 is a continuation of the recent violence upon police officers as part of what seems to be a revolt against our justice system and an attack on our personal freedom. These are cowardly acts were hypocritically handed down as justice by individuals blaming what they see as a corrupt system of government — the very justice and freedom they in turn denied the slain police officers.

Our police officers are sworn to abide by the Constitution and to uphold the law. They are no more above the law than those who committed these terrible acts — this we must hold true in all circumstances. It is the most difficult period of time for police officers I recall in my 29 years as one of them. They, like you and I, struggle to understand or make sense of recent events and they need and deserve our support more than ever before.

I am extremely grateful for each and every one of the officers here at the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, as well as those serving here in Maine and across the United States. I pray they stay the course, continue to hold their heads high and remain steadfast in their oaths as our first line of defense against all who would undermine our freedom.

Please join me by sharing words of encouragement and thanks to law enforcement officers everywhere.

Todd Brackett is sheriff of Lincoln County.