As Chief of Police in Eureka, and more importantly a person wearing a blue uniform, I am heart broken and saddened by the cowardly act of race-baiting extremists assassinating police officers at a Black Lives Matter march. If the purpose of your act of terror was to cause a race war…it won’t work. Shooting 12 police officers and killing five strikes at the core of what we have become as a nation. If the police must worry about snipers killing them while protecting the constitutional rights of others, then we will destroy the very democracy so many have sacrificed so dearly for. Eureka, we are at a crossroad. What kind of nation/community will we be? One that devolves into hating and killing one another or one that sacrifices following Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.? “There are some things so dear, some things so precious, some things so eternally true, that they are worth dying for. And I submit to you that if a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.” (MLK, 1963)
When you become a police officer you know one day you could lose your life or be severely injured serving others. You accept that risk because justice and freedom are so dear, so precious and so eternally true, they are worth dying for. The Dallas police officers, and thousands nationwide, just like Dr. King, thought that serving fellow man was worth the risk. The officers and their families also paid a heavy price. They were fit to live, because as most police officers, they were willing to die.
The Eureka Police Department will push forward, working with the NAACP and our community to ensure justice and uphold freedom. Do Black Lives Matter? Unequivocally yes! Not in a flippant way that diminishes the meaning of the struggle black individuals have experienced, but in a genuine recognition of centuries of prejudice and abuse. Black Lives Matter to me personally and professionally. So do the men and women who sacrifice so much to wear blue.
So, where do we go from here? Just as some want to paint all black people as criminals, so extremists want to de-humanize all police officers. This is the result. That way one can shoot uniforms from a distance, not men or women with wives, children, mothers and fathers. These extremists want the abolition of the police, or to have a purely ineffective and reactive police force, happy with no proactive efforts to prevent, reduce and control crime. They look for the police to be subservient, not public servants. This will not happen.
Policing nationwide will lick our collective wounds and continue to protect, serve and partner with all segments of this great Nation. EPD will redouble its efforts of inclusion, looking at our blind spots of unconscious bias and yet aggressively route crime where it exists. Eureka is on the right track to public health and safety. Now is not time to de-police or not work with the community. Nor is it time to create fear in the minds of communities of color. It’s time to improve, include and understand great ideas take sacrifice and putting self aside for the greater good.
EPD will send officers to Dallas for the funeral of its officers. Please pray for peace in Dallas and if you would like to help defray the cost to our offices for attending the funeral please get a hold of Mary Kirby at (707) 441-4095 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Eureka, be fit to live!