From Greg Friese, writing for PoliceOne.com…
t has been more than a week since mass protests and riots erupted in dozens of cities in the U.S. in response to the death of George Floyd.
In the days that followed, public safety leaders expressed their grief for Floyd, condemnation of the four former officers, and discussed their department’s commitment to justice, fairness and service on all available channels.
The “Police Chief Letter to the Community” on Facebook was so ubiquitous I cynically suspected an organized crisis communications effort. My cynicism was tempered by the sincerity of the letters, the conciliatory tone that we must do better and the universal contempt for the officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck and is now facing second-degree murder charges.
Honestly, I was taken aback by how quickly and widely public safety leaders – especially chiefs, sheriffs and front-line personnel – issued statements condemning the officers, explaining how the arrest violated use-of-force standards and inviting cops to “turn in their badge” if they saw nothing wrong in the video. I was also taken to task, fairly, in comments and emails for my tiptoeing around the cause of Floyd’s death.
I have read many chiefs’ letters to the community posted to social media channels in the last week. I have yet to find a statement that struck me as tone-deaf or disrespectful. Many of the statements led me through a wave of emotions from grief to somberness to inspiration. Amid two global crises, I see in these leaders a conviction and sincerity I aspire to as a leader.
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