The “Stand Up” Begins

imagesOn a recent blog, “Who Will Speak Up,” I asked when today’s police were going to stand up, speak out, and seriously respond to the crisis at hand — the lack of trust communities of color have for their police.

FBI Director Comey stood up and addressed the matter along with “unconscious bias” that most white folks have. See his remarks HERE.

I was greatly encouraged when I received this note from Alex Salazar, a former police officer and the efforts of a group to which he belongs. He wrote to me:

“Chief Couper, pleased to make your acquaintance sir via my good friend, mentor and former boss, retired LAPD Captain John Mutz. My name is Alex M. Salazar and I am a former Los Angeles Police Officer. I am a member of a group of current, retired and former police officers from across our nation who are appearing in Washington DC this upcoming Wednesday on the 25th. Just wanted to say hello and that I have read your heartfelt book on policing “Arrested Development.” Thank you for being a pioneer in talking about these volatile and divisive issues of our time. I am attaching an article my good friend and former colleague LAPD retired Sergeant Cheryl Ford Dorsey wrote about our upcoming meeting with Civil Rights Congressman John Lewis. Looking forward to dragging out this diablo sir kicking and screaming. Please jump in at anytime. lol http://honestpolice.org/2015/02/.”

I went to the above site “Honest Police” and was greatly impressed by what I saw — a number of retired and former police officers standing up and speaking out; including Sgt. Cheryl Ford Dorsey (mentioned above). Read her article in “The Huffington Post” HERE.

Officers are standing up and speaking out. We need more of our nation’s police to follow their lead.

As many of you know who follow this blog, I think the “stand up” should include an apology (see my post on this) and a pledge by police to improve and act trustworthy. To me, it is the only way forward.

Tomorrow, a number of these “stand up” officers are going to Washington to meet with Rep. John Lewis, who was one of the Freedom Riders in 1961, received an apology in 2013 from Kevin Murphy, then chief of police in Montgomery, Alabama. Murphy’s apology was accepted by Lewis. (See video HERE). And note that when Lewis and his colleagues who accosted and assaulted by Montgomery police, Murphy was not yet born. There’s a message here.

I send good thoughts and my blessing as these officers travel to our nation’s capital to meet with Congressman Lewis tomorrow. Godspeed!