In the late afternoon of Thursday, July 7, many of us began to learn of the horrific tragedy that was unfolding in the city of Dallas, Texas. I was on the phone with PORAC Treasurer Marcelo Blanco, who told me to turn on the news because several officers had been shot in Dallas.
When I tuned in, I was completely shocked to see so many officers injured, having fallen where they stood. Immediately it brought to mind the terror attacks America faced on September 11, 2001, as well as the tragedy of our four Oakland officers on March 21, 2009, and four officers in Lakewood, Washington, on November 29, 2009.
As the events unfolded in Dallas that afternoon and into the evening, we learned that five of our brother officers had made the ultimate sacrifice in protecting the citizens of their city. The next morning, PORAC put out the following statement:
All of PORAC mourns the senseless murders in Dallas yesterday evening of police officers who were targeted because they wore a uniform that distinguishes them as the front line of community protection and service.
The killing of five police officers and the wounding of six others is a tragic, almost unimaginable example of the dangers law enforcement confronts now on a daily basis. Everyone, policymakers, law enforcement and private citizens alike, must take notice that the appalling level of escalating violence in our communities is a national crisis.
We are reminded again that the war on law enforcement is more than a source of terrible grief. We must consider as a society how we are going to resolve a situation where the peace officer is targeted in the course and scope of enforcing our laws. We also remember that those who choose violence also wounded two innocent bystanders in Texas.
Families have been shattered and children are left without a parent, and we as individuals have lost courageous examples of civility and commitment and courage. We pray for those brave officers who gave all, and we grieve and offer our complete support in the coming days to their loved ones and colleagues.
We work in perilous conditions. PORAC urges every man and woman who proudly wears a badge to be vigilant. God bless all of you.
Less than a week later, the following Sunday morning, we saw a similar incident in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Six law enforcement professionals were gunned down, three fatally, by a madman hell-bent on taking his vengeance out against professional peace officers.
Over the past several months, we have seen law enforcement become the targets of those who believe that they must right any perceived wrong. The problem is that none of our fellow brothers or sisters wearing a badge are afforded a similar path to justice. We are all becoming scapegoats for the mainstream media, as well as those who believe they must take matters into their own hands.
Many years ago, all of us took an oath to protect and serve our communities and put bad guys in jail. Now we must do that as well as being the social worker, absent parent, team mom, mediator and all-around go-to person to solve the problems of those who apparently can no longer handle their own lives, all the while being judged for every decision made, sometimes in less than a second or two.
These are some of the most difficult times I have ever witnessed as a law enforcement professional. Together, we will persevere through any obstacles put before us. It’s in our DNA. We will continue to put on the uniform, pin our badges on our chests and go forth to protect our communities.
In remembrance of those who lost their lives in protecting our communities, I would like to share with you one of the final Facebook posts by Montrell Jackson, one of the tragically murdered police officers from Baton Rouge Police Department. Know that all of us at PORAC are proud of the job all of you do every day.