All of you have seen and experienced the attack on police officers from the media and protesters nationwide in recent weeks. It started with peaceful protest because of the killing of George Floyd by an inept police officer– by all accounts and after watching the video, we here at the PBA do not condone what that former officer did. The protests led into looting and riots in many cities across the country, including here in Florida. You all watched as police officers tried to defend themselves from the violence of gun fire, stabbings, rock and brick throwing and even Molotov cocktails being heaved at them as police cars burned.
The protesters are demanding that police agencies be defunded and police forces be dismantled. We have all been painted with a broad brush–whether you are law enforcement or correctional officers-by many of the protesters and the media as thugs and racists. I have been crisscrossing the state over the past 10 days to speak with our legislators and ask them their thoughts about the narrative of how police are being betrayed as the bad guys. They have assured me that they do not support defunding police agencies, that they will continue to support our agenda and that 99% of all police and correction officers are good people. I have also suggested to the leadership that the PBA is available to have a dialogue with all the stakeholders involved. As a 34 year veteran police officer, I have been through two major Paradigm Shifts when it comes to policing; Ferguson in 2014 and right now. This paradigm shift will fundamentally change the way we engage in policing. There is no doubt that change is coming, but we will rise to the challenge and adapt to the new landscape.
I want to assure you that the PBA is watching your back and we continue to be proactive in our approach. We will continue to defend our officers from demands to defund the police, protect police officers’ identities when they are victims of a crime under Marsy’s Law, and everything in between with our regiment of experienced attorneys who are at the ready when any legal issues arise.
Be cognizant of your surroundings whether you are going to a domestic call or to a traffic stop. More than ever, there are multiple groups out there with a hatred of law enforcement officers and they will continue their efforts to try to bring us down. Be cautious, but do not be disheartened. This job has never been easy and not everyone is against us. Our profession has seen the ebb and flow of support in the past. We are in it for the long haul and we still have the support of the majority of the people we serve.
Please stay safe and if you need anything at all from the PBA, do not hesitate to reach out.