Chief's Message: Special Letter in Light of Mr. Floyd's Death
MY MESSAGE IS DEDICATED TO THE LATE MR. GEORGE FLOYD WHO WAS MURDERED AT THE HANDS OF LAW ENFORCEMENT
My heart is still heavy as I write this message to you.
I can’t seem to erase the memories of what I saw and heard while watching the video of Mr. Floyd’s senseless murder. YES, HE WAS MURDERED. Let’s call it for what it is.
No one deserves to lose his or her life this way. Did these officers forget that they are public servants? Any officer with a heart would not do this, nor should any officer EVER stand by and watch this grave injustice take place. I ask WHY? Why did they ignore Mr. Floyd’s cry for help?
Mr. Floyd was a father, a son, a brother, a friend, a human being when he said, “I CAN’T BREATH.” To add insult to injury , NONE OF THE OFFICERS involved administered CPR to his lifeless body. Instead, he was placed on a gurney, still in handcuffs .
These officers are just as complicit for standing by, failing to render aid, and failing to assist Mr. Floyd as he cried out in desperation to breathe.
As an African-American woman and the Chief of the Lauderhill Police Department, I am appalled and disgusted at the circumstances surrounding Mr. Floyd’s death. EVERY SWORN OFFICER WHO KNOWS RIGHT FROM WRONG SHOULD FEEL THE SAME WAY. Each and every police officer who wears the badge is accountable for his or her actions.
Police officers are held to a higher standard. If we, as law enforcement, cannot treat people with respect and dignity, we need to turn in our badges and find another profession.
When I was growing up as a kid, my desire was to become a police officer because I always wanted to help people. This has not changed.
I, along with my family members, have personally experienced unprofessional behavior from police officers sworn to protect and serve. This is another reason I decided to join this profession. I wanted to be a change agent. I wanted to fix things. I wanted to be a leader so that I could stand up and affect the needed change.
Every day, I continue to encourage my officers to treat people like they would want to be treated. There are so many good officers who come to work every day, loving theircommunity, and trying to be the change that this world needs. They do these things from the bottom of their hearts, without looking for well-deserved praise as a result. These stories don’t get told, nor are they highlighted, yet there are so many.
Several officers from the police department, including myself, mentor kids attending schools within our communities. These officers don’t just mentor these kids, they spend quality time with them and continue to guide them so that they can stay focused.
In addition, many Lauderhill police officers use their own money to purchase items that were stolen from our residents. A large number of Lauderhill police officers purchase bikes and other items for kids who are in need. These are just a few examples of the good deeds that take place daily, yet go unnoticed.
As the Chief of Police, I understand that our actions as police officers have a major impact on the way we are viewed by members of the community. I REFUSE TO BE SILENT ON THIS. We are in a position of power. WE should NEVER let our positions cause us to treat people like we would not want or expect to be treated.
I want the citizens of this community to know that I expect every one of our police officers to treat EVERY person he or she encounters with respect and professionalism. If any citizen feels that he or she was treated unprofessionally, please report the encounter to us IMMEDIATELY. On the same note, if you had a POSITIVE encounter with a police officer, please tell us about that as well.
WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO, MOVING FORWARD?
Law enforcement needs to speak out and stop the actions of those who cause dishonor and disgrace to this profession. They need to remember the oath and promise that they swore. To those in this profession who will not stand up for what is true and right, TURN IN YOUR BADGE.
If you or your loved one have been a victim of police mistreatment or brutality, on behalf of all law enforcement let me be the first to say that I am sorry. I also apologize to those who have had to witness their loved one being mistreated or brutalized. You are hurting and crying out for them. I hear your cries and I am sorry.
WE WILL AND MUST DO BETTER.
Collectively, we must have conversations with members of the community to hear and address their concerns. Everyone has a voice and should be heard. We need to ensure that police officers are trained to handle this job. We are expected to deescalate situations, not escalate them, to preserve life as much as we can, not to take a life without cause or threat. As a member of the community, you have a right to be upset, to be angry, to peacefully protest and demand justice. I, along with the members of this agency stand for and with you.
As such, please hear my cry: VIOLENCE IS NEVER THE ANSWER. Officers do put their lives on the line every day and at times go above and beyond the call of duty. Please also know that those who own businesses and provide jobs and services to the community should not be targeted. We will work through the hurt and the pain TOGETHER and come up with viable and peaceable solutions to make our community a better place.
We have a number of Community Programs and will continue to host these events. They give us opportunities to get to know members of the community and they allow the community to get to know us.
I invite you to an open and meaningful dialogue. Let’s keep the lines of communication CONTINUOUSLY open.
WE ARE HERE FOR YOU. Let us hear your concerns and let us work together to make changes for the better.
As I conclude this message, I extend my thoughts and prayers to the Floyd family. His senseless murder will never be forgotten nor ignored.
In his honor, we will continue to uphold the highest standard of public service and respect.
Chief Constance Stanley