An Open Letter to Our Own
To Our Brothers and Sisters in Blue
As your friends and colleagues, we understand how challenging the last week has been. The nationwide unrest is only the beginning of what we fear will be an even longer summer if we do not demonstrate to our communities that, as Father of Modern Policing, Robert Peel, said, “…the power of the police to fulfill their functions and duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behavior, and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect.”
We are encouraged by the officers in Spokane, Des Moines, Miami, and elsewhere who have taken a knee in response to the protests. We are proud of the police chiefs in Michigan and Georgia who chose to walk into the crowd of protestors to speak with them face-to-face. But we are disturbed by the officers who shot paintballs at people, drove police vehicles into crowds, and otherwise demeaned our role as public servants. As current and retired members of law enforcement, we condemn this inexcusable behavior.
Our profession is stronger and more respected when we stand alongside the people we serve. We are long overdue to listen, not simply to show that we are listening but to show that we will act swiftly to address the needs of our communities.
While we condemn the violence and destruction of property, a riot is, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “the language of the unheard.” He also called riots “self-defeating,” and we agree. But, one does not need to agree with the worst protest tactics to understand the anger behind them. Communities are tired of their voices being ignored and their concerns going unaddressed.
There has never been a more pertinent time to rethink our role in society and what public safety truly means.
Are you a current or retired member of law enforcement and passionate about improving the justice system? Join us.
The Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP) is a nonprofit group of police, judges, prosecutors, and other justice system professionals who use their expertise to promote evidence-based solutions to public safety problems. To keep our speakers at the forefront of criminal justice reform, we need your help. Donate here.