A Memo to our Community Regarding Public Service

These are unprecedented times… not only for our nation but also for the entire world. Pandemic-related anxiety seems to be everywhere and is intensified by conflicts over race and policing. The Black Lives Matter and associated movements have sparked heated debates among acquaintances, friends, and families. There has been a long history of harmful acts to justify the fear and concern among people of color regarding safe,
fair, and legal policing. These incidents do not negate the fact that law enforcement is essential to preserving and protecting the pursuit of the American Dream… for all of us.

A police force is a group of people who exhibit the same characteristics as any group of diverse people. Like any group of individuals, there is a percentage who are racists– just as there are anti-racists and misogynists, and those who believe in gender equality, etc– in their ranks. For some, the authority bestowed by the badge empowers and exacerbates their deep-seated beliefs. In addition, the profession is one in which its people
are repeatedly called upon to step into dangerous and uncertain situations. Frequently those encounters start routine but escalate into more complicated events.

As an African-American male, I have experienced questionable police stops here in Miami Springs and elsewhere. Not one of those times did anything occur like what we have seen on the news. Presumably, the officers ran my driver’s license and license plate against local and national databases and found nothing of concern. It was inconvenient, and a little unnerving, but those encounters ended without event. Ethical, responsible police behavior exists and is possible – in fact, it occurs every single day.\

Our police and all public servants, are essential to the preservation of the democracy we enjoy. Working with my colleagues, I am honored to do my small part to help them enjoy prosperous and comfortable retirements. The Miami Springs police force has provided exceptional support to my family and me over the years, and I greatly value their professionalism and compassion.

It’s disconcerting to read and hear the voices on all sides that attempt to simplify the issues we face and the solutions to conflict. So much of our modern policing systems developed from the days of Jim Crow – redlining, segregation, mass incarceration, etc., have not ended. Challenges like economic instability, lack of social resources, and family disruption are not going anywhere soon. The need for our public safety professionals only stands to increase in the future, and we cannot afford to turn away those who would truly
seek to “serve and protect.”

As leaders in our small community and our spheres of influence, I hope that we can all be voices of reason and objectivity. We do not need to ignore the truths of the past and how they manifest themselves in our communities today. But we do have a responsibility to keep those truths from becoming obstacles towards building a better future, a better way of life, and the best city in Miami-Dade County.

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