VIEWPOINT | Cops aren’t to blame for community violence

By MARK BROWN

I send out my deepest sympathies to the men and women of the Dallas Police Department and to the wives, husbands, children, mothers, fathers, family members and friends of those officers who lost their lives in the tragic and senseless killings on Thursday. I cannot imagine the pain in their hearts on this national day of mourning.

My prayers go out to them and I also pray for the safety of all of the men and women who put on a badge every day with the intent of protecting our communities.

To our local community, I would tell you that my deputies respond to over 400 calls for service each week not knowing which call will require them to use force and, if they use force, will it be necessary to take a life. I know full well when a life is taken the degree of scrutiny that will follow in the investigative process.

I am extremely proud of the men and women of the Island County Sheriff’s Office who put their lives on the line and rely on their training and personal skills to face the uncertainty of what to do in violent confrontations. Not every violent confrontation will end peacefully; not every citizen will agree with being arrested; not every police encounter will have a happy ending.

I can assure you we will investigate when there is an alleged wrongdoing and be transparent when the investigation is concluded. After more than 40 years in this profession, what I refuse to accept, however, is the overall distrust for domestic policing in our nation.

Let’s not forget the 400 calls for service in unincorporated Island County each week that did not result in police misconduct. Let’s not forget the good cops who successfully resolve potentially violent issues without anyone being hurt. Let’s not forget the deputy who is running into a dangerous situation that the public is running away from. And let’s not forget the corrections officer who is trying to gain compliance of a violent inmate suffering from chemical dependency withdrawals.

Finally, let’s not target good police officers but instead focus on the real problem — the violence coming out of our communities. Let’s have the tough discussions about our local policing and the training necessary to prepare for a profession in law enforcement, but let’s never forget the toughness required for the job.

 

Editor’s note: Mark Brown is the Island County sheriff.