Over the past few months our nation and our community has experienced traumatic and unprecedented events. This began with the pandemic and rolled directly into the civil unrest we are currently experiencing. We have diligently striven to communicate with you along the way, because we believe that is what partnerships are about.
In the past, when significant events have occurred that affect our nation or our City, I have personally reached out to communicate with you directly. Examples of those past events include mass shootings around the country, the Public Safety Power Shutoffs, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
While I love our partnership and communicating with you, it is with great disappointment and sadness that I am sharing today’s message. Like you, I suspect, I am dismayed and angered by the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer whose job was to protect others. The force used was altogether wrong. Mr. Floyd died needlessly and I am sorrowful for his family, the Minneapolis community and our country because of this.
I am also angered because the actions, and inactions, of those now former officers stand in stark contrast to what our profession is supposed to represent. Our mission and commitment is to lawfully protect lives and property and safeguard individual rights and liberties. While these important fundamentals appeared to be lacking in Mr. Floyd’s death, I want to assure you they are not lacking in your officers, the men and women of the Pleasant Hill Police Department. I have great trust in the men and women of our Department. While we are not without fault and are constantly striving to improve, we serve with the highest level of professionalism and are committed to the impartial and lawful resolution of problems and enforcement of laws.
I want you to know that your officers are well trained in the proper application of force, to include de-escalation techniques and interpersonal communications as well as fair and impartial policing. In addition, our use of force policy explicitly requires officers to intercede if they see another officer using unreasonable force. Most importantly, we only hire people who care - those who respect the dignity of others and the sanctity of life. While our policies, training and accountability processes are sound, we seek and hire only those whose values meet our organizational values of respect, courage, integrity and service for ALL people.
Lastly, I would like to address the civil unrest occurring in our nation, region and even in our own community. We are dedicated to safeguarding rights and liberties. We hold dear the inalienable right to gather and protest as guaranteed by our Constitution. We recognize protests and demonstration have many different forms and we support that as well. We also understand the role civil disobedience plays in enacting change.
The looting and vandalism that occurred in our community on Sunday, May 31st, was not a protest or demonstration. On that Sunday evening individuals came here, and to other communities, seeking opportunities to commit criminal acts in our town under the guise of a righteous cause. People do not have the right to violate the safety, freedoms, rights, or property of others. Consequently, on that evening our officers responded swiftly and with resolve. I am proud of the actions, teamwork and professionalism displayed by our officers and dispatchers during that challenging evening. They were diligent in their efforts to maintain the peace, all the while maintaining the high professional standards they swore to uphold.
Our officers are ready to protect those exercising their First Amendment rights. Just as importantly, they stand ready to protect you, your family, and those who work or visit our community from others who would seek to commit criminal acts.
I thank you very much for the overwhelming support you have shown us recently. We are committed to you and to being an integral part of our community.