I am shocked and saddened by the horrific killing of Mr. Floyd. It was criminal and inexcusable.
A silver lining, if there can be one under these circumstances, is that people at every level of government (at least most) are assessing what they are doing right and what they should do differently. There is always room for improvement, but I can report that the people in Mequon should be pleased with the Mequon Police Department.
Over the past year, the Mequon Police Department has proactively prepared an updated policy manual, including policies to ensure that lethal force is only used when absolutely necessary; that force of any kind is not used excessively; that officers de-escalate rather than escalate tense situations; and that bias may not be the basis for policing decisions.
I am proud to say that the Mequon Police Department is ahead of the curve. There have been many policies suggested by residents over the past several days. The department adopted every one of them before being asked under these circumstances. You can see these policies by clicking the following link:
This focus on good, community-based policing centered around fairness, justice and safety is not new. It is how our officers have been trained in the past and continue to be trained.
Importantly, the Mequon Police Department hires good men and women. Policies and training are vitally important, but none of that matters if you did not have officers of high character. Mequon does at every level, from the Chief to the newest recruit. Chief Patrick Pryor, his command staff and the Police and Fire Commission insist on it.
The leadership of the Mequon Police Department is in great hands. We are fortunate Chief Pryor is one of the finest, most honest and most ethical people I know. And he has an exceedingly fine command staff. Like the rest of us, Chief Pryor is appalled by the killing of Mr. Floyd. You can read his statement by clicking the following link:
Of course, I do not know what each individual officer believes in his or her heart, but I truly believe that our officers treat each situation based on the perceived threat using legitimate criteria. That certainly is the expectation.
There is always more work to do. But I am confident that the Mequon Police Department is committed to keeping our community safe and doing it the right way.
In our nation’s rightful efforts to ensure that police do not perform heinous acts like those that occurred in Minnesota, we must be ever mindful that policing is a dangerous job. Hundreds of police officers die on the job each year. Over the past couple of decades, an average of 85 officers have been feloniously killed each year. And last year alone, police officers were assaulted over 50,000 times.
When compared to the number of civilians killed each year by police, the number of officers killed might appear small; however, the vast majority of civilians killed were involved in criminal acts and had weapons. In almost all instances, the officers who were compelled to use force were protecting their communities in very difficult conditions. I am not defending the use of excessive force, but unfortunately force, if used correctly, is sometimes a necessary part of policing.
Efforts to make positive change must not put our officers further at risk. Officers must be able to protect themselves and to use deadly force when appropriate. They cannot effectively serve or protect our communities if they fear for their lives or if they are not allowed to defend themselves or our people or property. Fortunately, in Mequon, deadly force has almost never been necessary, and the vast majority of police contacts involve no force whatsoever.
Chief Pryor and I have received many questions over the past couple of days. You can read many of the questions, and the Police Department’s answers, by clicking here.
We will continue to look for ways to ensure that ALL people are treated justly.
Support positive, responsible change. Black lives matter, as do all lives. Justice matters. Bias is inexcusable. Bad police officers should be removed from the job. Criminal police officers must be prosecuted.
All of that being said, support our police even while insisting on societal change. They are protecting us. They have a stressful and dangerous job and are on our side, and we have very good people serving us.