Thursday, April 30, 2015

Recruit Class 2014-02 Graduation: My Remarks

Every so often, I'll come across something that makes me remember why I started this blog: to share the kind of stories you won't hear anywhere else.

Occasionally, these stories also make me remember why I love my job and what I hope to accomplish in it. This is definitely such a time. But sadly, these aren’t the stories that you will see leading the nightly news. They should be.

Earlier this month, I received a letter from one of our citizens who is nearly 90 years of age. The writing itself was simple, clear and elegant, reflecting the kind of skill people used to have in the days before Twitter.

The story it told was likewise straightforward and un-embellished. A citizen wakes up, not from any noise or disturbance, but simply from restlessness. Outside are four unnoticed police officers, making an uneventful arrest. The citizen takes a moment to watch this scene and reflect on what it means. Instead of something dull or common, she sees something remarkable. Four people risking their lives to protect a neighborhood that doesn't know they're there, and taking great care to do it quietly, at that. 

I think her letter says it better than I ever could…

I spend a lot of time and effort trying to express my thoughts about community policing, more lately than ever before. And yet, nothing I say captures the essence of that philosophy as well as this letter.  

The moment I read it, I thought, "This is how I want people to see the Police Department and this is how I want the Police Department to see the people."

I realize we're not there yet, and that it will take work to close the distance. But it's a goal worth working for and I can't imagine a successful future without it.

Here's hoping that the future brings us closer to getting what we all want: a quieter world, a safer world, a more peaceful world and a world where the only things that wake us up in the middle of the night are young children and old age.

I want to leave our new young police officers with this thought: What you are about to do, the career you have chosen, you do it not for the accolades or the notoriety. You do this because you are true to your heart.

May God watch over you every day.

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