We are truly seeing a state of anarchy in many of our major cities across the country, as protests have given way to full blown riots, looting and even murder, due to an extreme lack of political leadership and pandering to criminals in those areas.
Everyone can agree that the murder of George Floyd is a tragedy and the former officers’ actions must be severely punished. However, the war against the police that has resulted is completely irrational, unwarranted and should be unacceptable to the public. Of course, no one condones the actions of the individuals responsible for the death of Mr. Floyd, but it is unreasonable to think that an entire nation needs to be destroyed to pay for their crimes.
Peaceful protests and freedom of speech are integral parts of what makes America a strong and free nation. The police have successfully worked countless such protests without major incident regardless of the topic. The job of the police while working during a protest, and certainly during a riot, is to keep the peace and protect the public and property. It is not to take a knee. Riots and associated crimes are not free speech and are detrimental to a civilized society.
The media continues to stoke the flames of discord by deceitful editing of video of incidents, choosing to show select short segments of an incident, to portray the police as the enemy of the people. It is sickening. Officers are being dehumanized as they are taunted, spit upon and ultimately physically assaulted. When they take action to defend themselves or to make a lawful arrest, they somehow become the problem. The media only shows the reaction to being hit by a brick, punched in the face or tackled in the street. Politicians and the public often jump to conclusions and side with “protestors” in these instances. These are not protestors; they have just committed assault. Protestors carry signs, use bull horns to yell, have sit ins and actually take productive, non-violent action to get their message heard.
The police in many areas are currently in a near impossible position: take action and be ridiculed or do not take action and be ridiculed. Where are those speaking out against this anarchy? We are seeing way too many spineless politicians who are too afraid to offend criminals by giving the police the support they need to do their job and a media that mostly thrives on controversy as opposed to facts. One could only hope that the majority of the public is not in favor of seeing their cities burned to the ground and their country destroyed in a week by a lawless mob. Why aren’t their voices being heard? Is this really what they want?
These protests and subsequent violent riots and looting are spreading to our doorstep as well. Fortunately, we have strong support from our Suffolk County politicians who represent us on the state and county level, who certainly understand the need for law enforcement in our communities. The SCPD has long enjoyed meaningful community relationships here in Suffolk County. That is derived from a long history of hard work, professionalism, training, cooperation and learning from mistakes made along the way. Only by continuing the dialogue and working together with community leaders will that relationship continue to strengthen and flourish. You should all be very proud of this department, our leadership, and how we successfully police here in Suffolk County.
When I sent out the email Friday, I expected it to be a tough weekend for the men and women on the street, but I could not have imagined it would have been as bad as it was over the last several days. We will have to wait and see how the next few days unfold across the country and locally to know where we are headed in the long run. Continue to look out for each other, that is all that we can count on. These are very stressful times. Take a deep breath, talk to someone, reach out, people are there for you and your people. The SOA Team is our peer support team and available to assist you; their information is on our website. Take care of your family, your cops, and the law abiding public. Your and their safety is first. Everything else is secondary.
While we are busy fighting to save our communities, many city-based state politicians continue working very hard behind our backs to strip us of our rights and protections of our personnel records in 50A. The same politicians that brought you such well thought out legislation such as: the gun reform laws, that instantly made service weapons and/or magazines illegal; bail reform, which allows criminals to be back on the street before the paperwork is complete and before their victims even leave the hospital; unrealistic changes to evidence discovery time frames; released prisoners due to Covid-19 concerns for sexual predators and murderers; and the new Green Light Law that contains a section that makes it a felony for police to share certain information with a federal law enforcement agency. Most of these laws were hidden inside budgets passed in the middle of the night and often need to be amended due to the absurdity of them. They are using this civil unrest as an excuse to undo many years of warranted protections of police officers, firefighters, and corrections officers.
We need to stick together and continue to advocate for our interests collectively to protect our hard-earned rights and benefits that we have gotten for our families during our careers and throughout retirement. The SOA is continuing that fight on many fronts through the associations that we are a part of. We continue to evaluate how we need to adapt so that we can improve the impact we can make on the policies that affect us. It is quite obvious that the current state of affairs has many politicians against law and order.
Continue to be the true professionals that you are, day in and day out.
“When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.” Edmund Burke