Below is a statement from Delaware County Council regarding recent threatening remarks a Delaware County police officer made towards a business.
This week, an officer and member of the leadership committee of the Delaware County FOP made explicit, threatening remarks toward businesses that he perceived as being against law enforcement. Though the FOP subsequently apologized, the damage was done, and the incident reinforced the perception that many rightfully have that law enforcement cannot always be trusted to appreciate the imbalance of power that they wield; that carrying a weapon and a badge also carries tremendous responsibility to treat the community with equality of respect, and therefore, the need for systemic reform within law enforcement in America.
During this pandemic, as we have faced a common enemy, members of the Delco community have come together to support one another in our collective times of need – delivering food to the hungry; offering support to our first responders and medical professionals fighting the pandemic on the front lines; staying home and sacrificing to protect our vulnerable neighbors.
The events of these last two weeks have the potential to divide us, to bring home locally the partisan hostility that in many ways has increasingly affected our country and the world in this social media era.
But we could also choose to take these events and use them as an opportunity to bring us together, and further our understanding of those whose life experiences have greatly differed from our own.
It doesn’t have to be “either / or.”
We can all stand with the call for police reform, and to express our profound outrage and sympathy for the families of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, and the many who have come before them who have lost their lives at the hands of conscious or unconscious bias. We can acknowledge the systemic racism that has plagued our country for centuries, including in our own community, via redlining, and discriminate enforcement of the law, and an emphasis on incarceration over rehabilitation, and unequal access to good schooling and healthcare and public safety. We can commit as a community to work together and with purpose and determination to combat such systemic racism.
We can do this while also expressing genuine appreciation and respect for the many good, brave men and women in law enforcement who every day put their lives on the line to keep our communities safe.
At this moment that we find ourselves in, let’s grow as a community. Let’s further the idea of “Delco Strong.”
We will be exploring opportunities in the coming weeks to formally bring all parts of our community, including law enforcement, to the table to create an ongoing dialogue toward the goals of much-needed reform and mutual understanding. We hope you will join us in taking this opportunity as one to grow, and instead of dividing, to come together.