Guest Blogger, Donearl Johnson, Public Safety Advisory Committee Member, writes about his thoughts on effective policing and recent events

Posted on Facebook July 8, 2016 – Today was a pretty rough day for me Fam. In fact, it has been pretty rough for a while. I’ve been hurting, angry, sad and simply broken, nevertheless I am resolved even the more.

Disclaimer: Before anyone attempts to discount my or anyone’s emotions by inquiring “what abouDJohnson_profilet black on black violence”, please know that it is a painful reality that I daily wrestle with, but again I am resolved to make a difference in the sphere of my influence concerning this and other issues. Now, I do find it very disturbing that some feel the need to point out other issues to minimize or diminish the effect of something else. Listen, I don’t have the luxury nor the desire to simply point out problems. I have been and remained compelled to let my light shine and to proactively make a difference.

Also, for the record, I am broken anytime there is senseless violence or killings regardless of who the victim is or who the perpetrator may be. I believe that regardless of the package, sin is the main issue and evil is the byproduct. This is not the intention for humanity.

I serve in the capacity as a member of the Public Safety Advisory Committee for the City of Auburn Hills as appointed by the Mayor. I fully understand the importance and the need of effective policing. I have hosted several events with the hopes to continue to build rapport and healthy relations with families and children in our community. I spoke with Chief Doreen Olko in times past about the continued training and accountability that she holds her officers to.

In fact, I had the opportunity to ride along with an officer a couple of days before Christmas last year. I wondered why in the world I chose this time to do it. I could not help but wonder what if we encounter a crazy situation during the ride and I didn’t make it back home; I had to shake the thought of my family losing me, days before Christmas. Before the ride, I toured the office and briefed with the Chief and the Lieutenant. I saw the family pictures as I walked by their offices and cubes and thought about my daughters and wife at home. My wife required that I wear a bullet proof vest even though it wasn’t necessarily protocol for the ride; however Lieutenant Gagnon took me down to the locker room and opened his locker and gave me his own vest. My heart begin to beat heavily against the walls of that vest realizing that there was no crystal ball to tell what I would encounter that day and it dawned on me that this is their daily reality. There is no script or pre-programmed day.

I said this not to justify any unprofessional actions nor to pacify injustice but to provide perspective to those who may find solace in generalizing. Equally, I believe my presence in this committee and the community work that I’m involved with also provide evidence and experience for any officer who may be tempted to generalize as well. Just in case you are wondering, yes, I’ve had my share of being followed and stopped in other cities.

I haven’t cried in years, but today I shed a couple of tears as I called my nephews and other young black men that I know to see how they were doing, to make sure if there was any anger festering, that they could learn to process it and use it in a positive way to effect change. Also, I called in an intentional and somber tone to reiterate the importance of keeping their hands visible at all times, remaining respectful and calm in the event that they are ever stopped to help reduce the chances of escalating a situation.

I almost lost it again as I held my 11 year old daughter tonight who had heard about the recent events. She asked me if it was ok to cry as she poured out her heart for the 4 year old girl who witnessed this and will have to live with this the rest of her life as many of us will move on with “business as usual”. The voice of this little girl echoes in my soul as she attempted to console her mother after hearing her scream saying, mommy it’s ok, I’m here for you.” I couldn’t help to wonder, who will be there for this little girl?

Please note that if you are a “bystander” or simply a spectator know that you just might be part of the problem. If all you do is point out problems to strengthen your point or position, you just might be part of the problem. If you can see issues and not feel compelled or called to action, yes, you just might be part of the problem. Apathy is a subtle but great evil! I encourage you to dig deep and be determined to make a difference. Inquire and partner with others to see how you can be a part of the solution in making this world/our world a better place.

Please know that I am further resolved to continue to engage, enlighten and empower in every capacity of what I do both naturally and spiritually. I am daily committed to live a life that is honoring to God, that will benefit and bless my family, my country and humanity. s/n: I’m not looking for an amen, like, hate, whatever I’ve simply been waiting to exhale ‪#‎ThereYouGo ‪#‎BreatheAgain

“Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.” ― Maya Angelou

Donearl Johnson

My Color is Love – Founder