A surprising voice of support for police

More than anything, I’d like for 2016 to be a year when we have fruitful conversations again about police keeping their communities safe. The national narrative, especially in the media, makes this difficult.

So I was heartened by what President Obama said in a speech last October:

“I reject any narrative that seeks to divide police and communities that they serve.  I reject a storyline that says when it comes to public safety there’s an “us” and a “them” –- a narrative that too often gets served up to us by news stations seeking ratings, or tweets seeking retweets. …

“I am convinced that progress comes together when we work together, and we work together best when we’re willing to understand one another — when, instead of having debates over talk radio, we stop and listen to each other so that we can empathize with the father who fears his son can’t walk home without being mistaken for a criminal; and when we sympathize with the wife who can’t rest until her husband walks through the front door at the end of his shift.”

The president said this in Chicago when more than 10,000 people were at the International Association of Chiefs of Police annual conference.

Such reasonable statements tend to get lost, so I’ll have a lot more to say about this topic this year.

RELATED:
“I wish Obama hadn’t said that” [April 29, 2015]

 

 

 

 

 

Published by

Ed Wojcicki

Ed is executive director of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police. He is the author of two books, the former publisher of Illinois Issues magazine and taught public affairs writing at the University of Illinois Springfield.

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