It has been a tragic week with the passing of George Floyd. I am saddened by the actions of the officers involved and the resulting chaos nationwide.
People are furious. We all want accountability, reasonable practices, and equal treatment from our law enforcement. No personal characteristics or intrinsic traits, including race, should sway the manner at which law enforcement responds to a call for service.
We all want justice for George Floyd and the victims before him. This rage has been made apparent by the recent protests and riots. Now, I’ve given the violent riots a lot of thought, and while I generally don’t condone them on a high level, I’ve decided to open my mind and refrain from condemning them in this context. It’s true that I’ve been a longtime supporter of law enforcement, and I still insist that honorable officers don’t have nearly the same level of exposure from the media as those who have done wrong. However, I also realize that these riots come after multiple peaceful attempts at advocating for justice and change. “A riot is the language of the unheard,” as Martin Luther King Jr. stated.
Furthermore, I see that this fight transcends individual officers. Evil and wrongdoing exist within every profession and demographic, including law enforcement. But even with our honorable officers working hard to protect and serve their communities, this will not be sufficient until we see change at an institutional scope. This is why communities are rallying against “systemic” policies, actions, and cultures that are fundamentally biased and broken.
All that said, I hope that these protests are a first step towards unity, not widened division. We need to increase transparent communication and collaboration between us, our police, and our government leaders. We need to push for better standards and consistency in law enforcement recruiting, training, performance evaluations, accountability, and leadership. This will require all sides to approach one another with an open mind. Law enforcement, governments, and even the justice system must be willing to embrace real progress instead of hanging onto a sunk cost fallacy. Only then can we begin to see change and slowly mend the everlasting broken trust in our communities.
Is this going to happen overnight? I doubt it, although the widespread protests have served as a highly effective wake-up call to law enforcement. I am also encouraged by the exemplary police officers and leaders whom I’ve met and worked with during my time at SURVIVR. These officers truly strive to make their communities safer and more prosperous from the day that they took their Law Enforcement Oath of Honor. These are the officers who set such a high standard of altruistic law enforcement and community policing that deserves to be followed by the industry.
We have yet another long and emotional road ahead of us. I look forward to the day that our communities can stand with their police not as enemies, but as allies. There is much listening and action that must be done to get there, but I am grateful to be on the forefront of public safety solutions with SURVIVR.