For the last several days I have been trying to process my thoughts about the last week. I have to no words to express my deep sorrow at the murder of the five officers in Dallas last week. The work of a solitary madman. And the murder of the sheriff’s deputies in Berrien County yesterday-again the work of a single individual. And the ones before that, and the ones before that…..We wear the mourning bands on our badges to show our sorrow and unity with other police across the country.
I hope these recent incidents can be a turning point for the whole country. I am asking our lawmakers at the state and federal levels to do what they should to give us proper tools and funds to improve the ability of communities to attract and hire the police they need. In Michigan alone, there are 4000 police jobs open. Recruitment is a national challenge. We need proper tools to weed out those who have not earned the right to wear the badge. And we need funding to properly hire, train and equip local police who provide the vast majority of policing services to communities across the country.
The national rhetoric would have us all believe that there is some deep divide between communities and their police. At our local level that is not what we are seeing. We have spent a long time building and maintaining our community partnerships. We invest our lives here and share with our community a desire for peace and unity.
I know that the officers have been appreciative of the upsurge in support expressed to them by community members. Thank you for all of the pizza and snacks people have brought and sent us. And the messages of support and concern. We appreciate the many people who have told us that they pray for us everyday. The officers talk about how people are stopping them on the street just to talk with them and take photos with them. Officers have a steady diet of people who are violent, angry, distraught, injured, drunk or high–it can be hard to remember that there are people who actually find value in what they do. So they appreciate it when someone actually sees them and shares a concern for their safety.
We are going about our jobs as usual. The officers aren’t talking about this much-there is work to do–calls come in on a steady pace. They focus on the job at hand. We always practice good tactics in the street to make things as safe as possible. And we provide the best quality protective equipment that we can. And we have well qualified supervisors to make sound decisions in the street in tense and challenging situations.
We all know that it is a dangerous world. And we accept it.
If you need us, we are here.