Tragedy in New York
Words cannot express the emotions I felt when I heard of the assassination of two New York City police officers on Saturday. Whenever a tragedy occurs, regardless of whether perpetrated by humans or nature, we seek to know why. This event is no different. It is too easy and convenient to cast blame. The social media posts prior to the murders are certainly disturbing, but no one knows the extent to which the assassin’s actions were influenced by mental health, protestors, elected officials or the media. The only things we know for sure is that we live in a violent society and that police officers are the ones that the public expects to protect them from the violence. Despite this reality, some segments of our society behave as though police officers are the perpetrators of violence rather than the defenders against violence. I do not believe this is the view is shared by the vast majority of Americans.
That said, perhaps the most painful irony of this weekend’s events is that, at the very moment two police officers were being murdered in Brooklyn, protestors against the police were disrupting holiday shoppers at the Mall of America. However, their message suggests they (and those that support them) are unable or unwilling to accept just how violent our society is and that police officers have few alternatives other than to use force when faced with violence or threats of violence. I believe most people do understand use of force and why it is necessary and appropriate for officers. But, if one wants a simple solution to use of force by officers, there actually is one – obey the law and those entrusted to enforce it.
In conclusion, I want to thank your for your dedication and your service. You have made the choice to do this very dangerous job. It was dangerous before Saturday and will be dangerous until your last tour of duty. Your primary concern on the job should be safety – for yourself, your partner and the public. You should not stop doing your job, but rather approach it with heightened awareness of the threats that exist. Recent events suggest that these threats are even more imminent in the current political atmosphere. However, you are professional and well-trained. You serve the public well. Be proud and be safe.
Lt. John Delmonico