Since the horrific and tragic events of 9/11, we have emphasized national security and community safety as never before. Laws. Resources. Technology. Planning. Tactics. Coordination and cooperation.
Thus, it is very hard for us to accept that more than a decade of massive investment in training, equipment, security systems, and substantial safeguards still leaves institutions and individuals vulnerable. But the reality is that we are far short of perfect protection.
While every incident in which law enforcement lives are lost has its own set of unfortunate circumstances, the climate of confrontation grows out of the loss of respect for authority. Too many people have started to believe that those who are on the front lines to protect us have become the enemy. That belief is wrong, corrosive, and too often deadly. Changing approaches is not enough; we must change attitudes.
No one could foresee that a September shift change at Blooming Grove state police barracks in Pike County would become the time and place of an assassination. How unsettling that violent action can happen anywhere, even in a place far removed. And it is alarming when a deadly assault occurs without apparent provocation or connection.
Individuals become casualties, not because of any action or words or mistake or misjudgment on their part, but simply because they are wearing the uniform.
The community has come together, and contributed in significant ways. Remembrances are held, memorials are erected. The parents of Corporal Dickson are talking about the power of forgiveness. We should all carry forward the power of the message about not forgetting our uniformed protectors. And about honoring them and constructively supporting them.
If we do not work to put trust and respect and faith back, the consequences are not good for our uniformed protectors or for the community at large.
Many times, these resolutions are happy words about happy events. This one is different in that it is born out of tragedy, and carries a crucial reminder of our obligations toward those who protect us. Not just on one day, not just during one week or one month, but through the year we should reflect on what we can and must do to help keep them safe. Then we, officials and citizens alike, should act, with purpose, with determination, and with unity of spirit.