I posted this last night to a community page here in Melrose. I’m adding it here so I can keep it as part of my blog archive.
Yeah, I’m that guy. And I’m writing to tell you that what happened in Minnesota yesterday won’t, can’t happen in Melrose. It can’t. Simple reason why. Let’s take the story on face value, ignore race, ignore the traffic stop, ignore certain behavior. The officer who killed Daunte Wright said that she thought she was pointing her TASER, but it was her gun. Let’s assume it’s all true. Know why I know it couldn’t happen in Melrose? No TASERS. I’ve spent time talking with officers here, many. I asked one about what happened in Boston one day, an apparently mentally ill man was threatening police, they knocked him down. How? Bean bag gun. Non-lethal means. I asked that Melrose officer, do we have that here? His look was really pained, he said no, we have no non-lethal means to subdue someone. None. Think about that. We have NOT given our police officers any ability to prevent harm, stop someone, without either endangering their own bodies or employing a gun. Which brings me to another conversation. An officer told me that he had never fired his gun on duty – he’s been here since the 90’s (I’m assuming training and practice don’t “count” as “on duty”). He went on to say that he considers it a failure if he even had to unholster his weapon.
So I’ll diverge. I’ve made mistakes at work. Haven’t you? Our police, the 55 or so in our Melrose Police Department, I’ve talked to a few. They get what the consequences are if they make a mistake. So why write this? We are going through some sort of silly “free cash” cycle. Ask our mayor to help our police, give them the tools they need. Call our city council. Oh, and the first officer mentioned? I asked about body cams. I wear one. He doesn’t. His answer? I want one. It protects me. It protects all of us.
Finally, when I hold those signs I get that some think I hate police. I don’t. To our MPD? Stop saying I’m the “one” who waves at you. You all do. Thank you.
As a side note. My dad owned a pharmacy. He was robbed at gunpoint. Twice. Our police need help. Add social service workers to go on calls. I’ve asked. Ask what else they need. They want our help. And give them the tools so if they do make a mistake? The results aren’t deadly.
#blacklivesmatter So do our police.