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Updated: Jun 10, 2020

By Craig R. Powell

Choosing a career in law enforcement to protect and serve the community is an honorable and selfless commitment that I greatly admire. The good Lord assigns a special purpose to each of our lives and for those destined to work in law enforcement I give thanks for their willingness to stand on the front line. As someone who has a brother (not by blood, but certainly by love) who has been a police officer for over 20 years, he has always been the perfect example to me of what a community servant should be. He is a kind, thoughtful and family-oriented soul who is spiritually grounded. So I continue to stand in support of the intent of the law enforcement Oath of Honor and with the men and women who submit to this oath with honor and integrity. But what I have not and will not stand with is a culture of silence within law enforcement when hate disguised in a blue uniform targets young black men across this country. Hate and racism hiding behind the shield is a terrifying reality for the black community and it’s time for the true professionals of law enforcement to take a stance.

The tension between the black community and law enforcement is in large part due to the “us versus them” barrier that has historically instilled anxiousness in the black community. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said that He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.” Until the law enforcement community accepts accountability for their role in implicitly cooperating with the unlawful and immoral acts of violence against young black men, this divide with the black community will remain. So the question for honorable law enforcement professionals is what are you going to do when hate dressed in blue compromises your Oath of Honor? Will you stand up for the community you are sworn to protect and serve by denouncing crimes against the community? Or, will you passively accept these acts in silence that perpetuates this divide?

As an optimist, I have a vision of the law enforcement community standing-up and boldly speaking out against criminals disguised as police officers. Just imagine the dismantling of an implied and misguided code of police officers protecting their own – no matter the circumstance. What I envision is a healing taking place where a true community partnership develops between police and the black community. If we are to ever see a lessening of tensions, the law enforcement community is going to have take an honest and courageous assessment of their role in this divide.

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