Senseless killing: public safety, not political, issue

My name is Richard McCann and I’m the Executive Director of the Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers (NAPSO), affiliated with CWA as Local 9110, AFL-CIO. We represent more than 1,500 law enforcement officers throughout the state of Nevada in 21 separate public safety labor Unions under our umbrella. We hold the seat for public safety on the Nevada State AFL-CIO Executive Board and a Vice President’s position on the Southern Nevada Central Labor Council.

We have witnessed these most recent tragedies in Dallas and our hearts are broken. On behalf of NAPSO/CWA 9110, we offer our thoughts and prayers to those officers, their families and all law enforcement personnel across the nation. These folks are true heroes.

But our pain doesn’t stop with our brothers and sisters of Dallas law enforcement. We grieve for the families of those men who recently died following interactions with law enforcement in Louisiana and Minnesota. We pass no judgment on the officers in those two shootings, for that is the province of trained investigative teams and the judicial system. However, we do demand those officers’ rights be protected and that due process is followed like any other citizen.

In the end, we must all put aside our differences to seek the truth behind these senseless killings and carnage and to learn how to stop it from continuing. We must be prepared to acknowledge what is real — we are killing ourselves and each other for no other reason that the color of our skin or the uniforms we wear. It must stop. It must stop now. This is not a political issue. It’s a public safety issue. It’s an issue that threatens our society at its core.

We must do whatever is necessary to bring to an end the public divide between law enforcement and our civilian communities. These acts are no less threatening to our way of life than the barbaric acts of terrorism that we watch take place across the planet each day. Partisanship and narrow-mindedness in Congress seems to be an accepted (albeit unworkable) method of communicating and resolving conflicts. But partisanship, bias, prejudice and bigotry between the races, the religions and those who are officers of the law are unacceptable.

While law enforcement must be prepared to acknowledge and accept accountability for its own misconduct, so too must the social movements like Black Lives Matter and others who have been born from these tragedies. We call upon the police departments to police their own and denounce bad behavior when it’s proven to exist. We also call upon these social movements to step forward and publicly denounce the actions of people who would murder law enforcement officers who were doing nothing more than protecting our homes, our children and our communities. These brave officers in Dallas were gunned down by a coward who was motivated by the same racial hatred for which police officers themselves were being blamed across this nation.

It’s time for law enforcement unions and their members to be leaders in this challenge. It’s time for law enforcement and civilians alike to step up to the plate, accept their own responsibility and fix this problem before it destroys us as a nation and as a world.

NAPSO is reaching out to law enforcement unions across the country to come together and unite with a single message — a message that denounces all of this needless violence and a message we can and will achieve a successful result in forging a more harmonious relationship within our communities.

Thank you for your time.

Richard McCann is Executive Director of the Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers.


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