Letters: U.S. police officers are not racist

“Avalos, police spar over resolution,” The City, Tuesday

U.S. police officers are not racist

Every police officer in America has been or soon will be affected by recent events in Ferguson, Mo., Staten Island, N.Y., and elsewhere around the country. The national debate and media focus will result in wholesale changes in police recruitment, training, community relations, and accountability. No agency in this country will be immune from the impact or the subsequent fallout that the death of Michael Brown has had, and will continue to have, in our communities and cities.

That said, the notion that there exists in this nation's law enforcement community a pervasive culture of antagonistic racism is pure fiction. Never before in the history of the U.S. has there been such progressive strides made in the professionalism, diversity, scrutiny, and accountability of the men and women who serve and protect our communities.

We can listen all day long to the analysts and pundits talking about all types of changes in law enforcement, but the truth of the matter is this: 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, men and women of all colors, ages and backgrounds, from coast to coast, are donning bulletproof vests, first-aid kits and duty belts to walk our sidewalks, patrol our alleys and climb our darkest stairways to respond to our call, to this nation's need, to our follies and to our desperations, and they are doing so unsung and without hesitation. None of those persons desires to harm anyone. None expects ever to do so.

But it will happen because it is the unexpected that engenders harm, and it is that unexpected harm for which it is most difficult to avoid by training, by practice, through dialogue or by federal mandate.

We can assure you that the last thing any police officer desires is to take the life of another human being. The violent demonstrations and protests that have followed, resulting in serious injuries to many police officers and then culminated by the grandstanding of some politicians, has further fanned the flames of discord and further increased tensions between police officers and the communities we serve.

We would hope that all of us could take a deep breath and confront the many factors involved in incidents such as those that occurred in elsewhere. No good comes from the destruction of property and further violence.

We all hope for a constructive debate in this country regarding policing and race, and the mutual understanding, and mutual appreciation of each.

Martin Halloran

President

Police Officers Association

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