January 4, 2014 Media Advisory from Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis and St. Paul Police Federation
January 4, 2014
Minneapolis and Saint Paul Police Union Presidents co-author letter to the community addressing the recent attacks on officers and the law enforcement profession.
In light of attacks on peace officers across the nation, including the recent tragedy in New York involving the execution of two police officers, and in response to the hostile climate in which the nation’s law enforcement officers find themselves living and working, we as leaders of the Minneapolis and Saint Paul police unions feel it is important to speak out publicly on behalf of our members, and law enforcement officers everywhere.
Our organizations have always advocated for, and unequivocally supported, the high educational and professional standards applied to our members. As one of the few states in the nation that requires officers to obtain–at the very least–a college degree in law enforcement, and mandates professional licensing, Minnesota stands tall in this area. The men and women wearing blue each and every day on the streets of Saint Paul and Minneapolis endeavor to serve the public in a professional and ethical manner, and to treat citizens with respect and dignity. We believe that they accomplish this goal the vast majority of the time.
Certainly, there have been instances where our officers have fallen short of the line, and we believe that we have been quick to acknowledge these instances. No other profession polices itself so strictly, or is more scrutinized internally and externally with more levels of review, than law enforcement. We do not disagree that disciplinary action and even criminal prosecution of officers in certain circumstances is appropriate.
However, it seems we have reached the point where it has become permissible for those whose
words may carry significant weight with the public to make irresponsible public comments
regarding the actions of certain officers on both sides of the river, and elsewhere. It seems that too often lately we have found ourselves living in a world where “feelings” count for more than facts, and officers are judged prematurely within the context of media “feeding frenzies” before the truth of any given situation can be discovered through a thorough and impartial investigation.
Those who make such comments need to understand the danger of contributing to these often false or inaccurate publicly-broadcast narratives. When this occurs, the impact on individual law enforcement officers, and law enforcement officers as a whole, can be devastating not only for the officers but for the rule of law itself. Ultimately, public safety is compromised.
As we move foreword as communities through this difficult time in American history, we urge those with a voice to measure their words and reserve judgement in these situations until the facts can be brought to light. Instantly condemning officers and their actions, and fueling the fire by making reactionary comments benefits no one, and in fact, as we saw on the streets of New York, can lead to tragedy.