By Alan Barcelona, President, California Statewide Law Enforcement Association
A Message To Our Members, Sworn & Non-Sworn:
Every law enforcement officer who wears a badge has taken an oath to protect and to serve, even at his or her own peril. On a daily basis, these fine, brave men and women RESPOND to calls for help and to very dangerous situations. They RESCUE citizens from harmful individuals and accidents and in doing so, RISK their own safety and their lives. They are in the face of danger and often have to make split-second decisions to save others and to save themselves. Not every human is cut out for this stressful but proud profession and not every human is willing to make that kind of sacrifice for the safety of another, most often, a complete stranger.
In the wake of the "use of force" cases that are currently in the national spotlight, the anti-police rhetoric that has followed, and the December 20th assassinations of New York City Police Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos - I want to remind the citizens of California and this nation, that no one puts more on the line each and every day than our law enforcement officers, our firefighters and those who serve in our military.
These law enforcement officers have families - they are mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, uncles and aunts, nieces and nephews and cousins. They, like anyone else who goes to work, have a right to return home to their families at the end of their shifts.
Our law enforcement officers feel the anger and hatred from some of those they have taken an oath to protect, and that hurts. Our law enforcement officers are in the thick of protestors who hurl rocks and bottles at them as the officers work to keep people and property safe, and that is sinful. For misguided individuals to stand up in front of microphones and cameras denouncing the peace officers in this country is a shame.
Our law enforcement officers would never demand our RESPECT, they don't have to - they are worthy of it. My message to the law-abiding citizens in this state and in the country is this: Don't let our law enforcement officers stand alone to shoulder the brunt of anti-police rhetoric that is making headlines. Let your officers know you are there for them just as they are there for you. A kind word, a letter, a blue light on your porch. Be the eyes and ears of our law enforcement officers and please watch their backs.
To our law enforcement officers: Be safe, be true to your oath, take the necessary precautions to ensure you return home to your loved ones and stand tall! The silent majority will rise to the occasion and thank you for your service and your sacrifice.