Back The Blue And Stand Against Racism
To The Reader’s Forum:
I would like to applaud Tom Tarpley for his editorial in the PJ of June 27 – 28, 2020. He made so many valid points about why every Village, Town, City and County needs a police Department. This talk of de funding police departments is very scary to say the least. Defunding our police departments is not the answer to what transpired in Minneapolis.
I have buried three loved ones who worked in law enforcement — two husbands and a brother. My husband who died in 1977 was the District Attorney of Chautauqua County at the time of his death. My husband who recently passed last year was a Sheriff’s Deputy, who became the Chautauqua County Jail Superintendent and served 46 years in law enforcement. My brother was also a Sheriff’s Deputy, and retired as a Lieutenant after many years in uniform prior to his passing. I worked in our Sheriff’s Department for a few years as well. Most police officers are kind, caring people who just want to protect the public and stay safe so they can go home to their families at the end of their shift. They don’t go out looking for trouble. When they respond to a call, they never know what is going to happen.
What happened in Minneapolis to George Floyd was not a justified use of force, and as Mr. Tarpley stated, it was criminal homicide. That being said, there are times when an officer must use force to subdue a suspect either during the commission of a crime or in pursuit of a suspect who has committed a crime. These officers must make split-second decisions with the facts that they are aware of at the time. I believe that Mr. Tarpley expressed the way most police officers feel as far as what they’ve seen and experienced in the line of duty. We had an incident here in Jamestown a few years ago where a police officer was set up by an informant he was wor,king with and was shot in the head. He lingered between life and death in Buffalo for many weeks. Many cars in Jamestown still have the window sticker that asks people to “Pray for Dave Mitchell”. Officer Mitchell was never able to return to active duty. There are many other examples like this right here in Chautauqua County. How soon we all forget these incidences of officers who have put their lives on the line to protect our citizens.
Yes, there are a few “bad cops” out there, but the number is minimal. They must be weeded out of their departments for sure. I just wish that the media was as quick to publicize all of the good things that police officers do instead of only emphasizing negative incidences. I would like to share a meme that I have posted on Facebook: “No one hates bad cops more than good cops”. This is so very true. Police officers who have done nothing wrong are pointlessly being attacked.
One thing I wish everyone would remember is that ALL LIVES MATTER — black lives, blue lives, white lives, all lives. Isn’t the slogan “black lives matter” a form of racism in itself? I back the blue and stand against racism; yes, you can do both.