We’ve always appreciated a great relationship with the community. The support by the community for local law enforcement has always been strong; more so recently than ever. It’s clear George Floyd’s death has had a great impact across our area. People have called on “good cops” to make their voices known and take a stand. People have also said local law enforcement must now embark on the task of earning back the trust of our community.
Before I jump in, let it be known: Every person is created equal, deserves the protections given by God and the constitution of the United States, deserves due process, and deserves to be served by police Officers with dignity and respect for sanctity of life. Every police Officer has taken an oath:
“On my honor, I will never betray my badge, my integrity, my character or the public trust.
I will always have the courage to hold
myself and others accountable for our actions. I will always uphold the constitution, my community, and the agency I serve.”
Our community: a melting pot of nearly every race, creed, religion, and ethnicity. The U of A and different locally based corporations have made this area incredibly diverse. I can’t think of a better way to raise a family than in diversity, welcoming to our table people of value from all walks of life.
Regional diversity isn’t new, but it has given opportunity for the halls of the Fayetteville Police Department and the Ranks of the Fayetteville Fraternal Order of Police to change. Increased diversity in our halls has added flavor to our days and insight into our community.
Some of us have been policing our diverse community for nearly three decades. Cumulatively, we work in our community with hundreds of years of combined experience. Our relationships with local organizations, interest groups, cultural centers, mosques, synagogues, churches, etcetera, run deep. We’re very proud of the relationships we’ve forged and maintained.
As the president of the Fayetteville Fraternal Order of Police, I publicly ask you, brothers and sisters, to remember your oath. Remember: the highest degree of integrity and the highest and most superlative character is required for the public trust. Continue to have the courage to hold not only others, but ourselves accountable for our actions. Leave the badge and profession better than you found it each day.
To the community, the above standard is not new. It’s engrained from the moment before the chief offers us a job when he makes clear the standard necessary for success. We have policed ourselves for years. I have seen fellow officers jailed for criminal offenses in the past, fired for poor character, lack of integrity, and abusing the power entrusted to them. Those who do these things are not welcome in our ranks. When these things have happened locally, it’s officers that remain that have to deal with the fallout caused by criminals who have tarnished our badges. We know the public is angry, and so are we. What I’ve not seen is abuse of our fellow man within our ranks. That is intolerable, wrong, and will be dealt with in real time, should it happen.
It’s imperative to point out that our standards of employment are high, our standard of training and retraining in many topics, including deescalation of, and use of, appropriate force, are high. We train often on dealing with the mentally ill, and have officers in our ranks that specialize in mental health crisis intervention and crisis negotiations. Certainly, this list is not exhaustive, and our toolbox is full.
We have a Mayor, Police Chief, Deputy Police Chief, and many former Police Chiefs who have set the bar so high, I’d be afraid to deviate from the law and ethics, even if I felt the urge. Consequence, termination, and prosecution would surely follow.
I offer my assurance, as has Chief Reynolds in his statement yesterday, that as a Fayetteville Police Officer and FOP board member, we will have accountability.
On behalf of our members, I’d like to say that we who serve our community have and will maintain your trust. We ask our local leaders, political, religious, cultural, and more, to help keep the peace. Persons, including local leaders, speak without considering the local ramifications of their words and actions. It’s easy to push “share” on posts and memes that generalize police officers as violent, people-hating, ex-bullied kids looking to oppress freedom, but it should not happen. I vow this is not, and will not, be true of our organization.
Finally, our condolences to Mr. George Floyd’s family. Officer Derek Chauvin thought it was his duty to be judge and jury, and impose and carry out a sentence. No where in ANY police officer’s training are we taught to restrain someone with our knee on their neck for any length of time. No where are we trained to allow this to occur, by the public, ourselves, or our coworkers. For officers to stand by and allow this to happen is wrong. We have faith the Criminal Justice System will do its duty and give justice where it is due.
Thank you for your overwhelming support and trust. It is not taken for granted.
Fayetteville Fraternal Order of Police