May is police officer memorial month. The President of the United States and Congress, as well as local government leaders, felt it important to annually mark the sacrifice men and women made to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans. Policing is a tough job, yet young officer’s sign up to lay their skin on the line to protect society. They have earned our highest admiration for being willing to accept risk and pursue justice.
On May 3, Mayor Frank Jager and the Eureka City Council gave a Proclamation to EPD, recognizing EPD officers and thanking them for their sacrifice. Council then humbled us by giving EPD a standing ovation. Democrat, Republican, progressive or conservative, it didn’t matter, they stood together in unison, to salute an excellent police agency. They recognized our progress and EPD’s daily passion is to police justly.
There were a few there who booed and jeered the ultimate sacrifice of our heroes. Normally, I brush the dust off my shoulder and move on not wasting time to acknowledge their existence. However, one man screamed, “F*ck the police” to open his time during community comment. Really? This during a time when we honor those who died. He has the right to his opinion and free speech. It is the police who ensure this right. Some of his kind have walked by my officers in uniform and said, “F*ck, you!” while making a simulated trigger motion with their fingers. They slandered officers openly and I tolerate it under free speech. What they don’t comprehend, because they don’t understand personal sacrifice, is that I and each of my officers would die to protect freedom and the constitutional rights of all Americans…yes, even theirs. Isn’t that the point?
Eureka lost three officers in the line of duty. Many more have been assaulted, injured and emotionally wrecked as a result of this job. At SDPD lost 9 colleagues in the line of duty during my tenure as a cop, most by gunfire. I wept at their funerals. I looked in the hollow faces of their mates, sons and daughters, stunned by pain and loss. I witnessed firsthand the pain of a parent burying their child and the horror of a community shocked and saddened to bury two officers at one time. Every cop I know has been injured at the hands of others. Stiches, bites, broken bones, stab wounds and bullet holes, I have seen them all inflicted on my friends, my brothers, my sisters.
So, for those who hate the police and enjoy the freedoms EPD ensures, we will protect you and this community at all cost. We will uplift all citizens who call Eureka home, rich, poor, black, white, old, young, male or female. There is nothing you can do to stop us, slow us or hinder us from making Eureka one of the best places on the planet to call home. We have only just begun to bring change. Hope. Prosperity.
“F*ck you” from people who don’t lift a finger, even the middle one, to build a better community means nothing to us. Your voice is meaningless, your thoughts inconsequential, until you become part of the solution. Any solution.
Today I was honored to offer Ryan Swanson a conditional job offer as a police recruit. His dad died while arresting a suspect while on duty here in Eureka. EPD hear me…this community has your 6.