Sheriff: Orlando tragedy is solemn reminder
When I was given the opportunity to submit articles on a weekly basis for publication in our local paper, I made a commitment that the subjects or topics covered would not be political. I felt then, as I do now, that this is a great method by which to share current and important information with our community, and have gotten some wonderful feedback as a result. I have covered everything from dog bites to vehicle equipment and hope that people have benefited from these articles.
With all that has happened in this past week, I struggle to find a balance between sharing solid impartial information and sharing my viewpoints on what is occurring throughout our nation. I look at the tragedy that unfolded in Orlando and the varying responses from those in leadership and search for the right answer. The issue of how to protect ourselves from future attacks regardless of perpetrator is not an easy one to discuss without immediately picking sides on one issue or another, and I found what I feel may be my best attempt at it.
In 1829 Sir Robert Peel penned his nine Principles of Policing, which outline the basic relationship between law enforcement and the communities they are sworn to protect. In Principle Seven, he states the following:
“Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.”
Whether the threats to our communities are local in nature or involve an international source, the answer is the same: We must look after each other. We must get involved when we see or hear things that give indications of potentially dangerous behavior. The slogan of “see something, say something” is as important now as it has ever been. We must share information that we have with local law enforcement so that our communities have a better awareness of potential crimes.
And finally we must be prepared to act when we are in imminent danger to protect not only ourselves but other members of our community. In the most recent trainings involving active shooter, the three options are 1. Evacuate. Get out of the building or area if possible. 2. Cover. Find an area in which you can barricade or secure yourself and others. 3. Fight back. Although this is the last resort, we should all be prepared to take action if for no other reason than to be something other than a stationary target.
While we as Law Enforcement train and prepare on an ongoing basis for the possibility of these events occurring, merely waiting for law enforcement to arrive to a life-threatening situation is not an effective response. We are each responsible for our own personal safety. Each of us must determine the level to which we are comfortable in engaging the threats to our safety and that of our families and friends.
What is important is that we need to have an undeniable accountability to each other, and an unbreakable reliance on each other. Those of us who have sworn our lives to the protection of our communities stand side by side with you, not above or below you to keep our communities safe. We must send a message to those who would seek to harm us that a crime against one is a crime against all.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press Gazette: Sheriff: Orlando tragedy is solemn reminder