On Sunday, three law enforcement officers were killed in line of duty in Louisiana, just weeks after the cold blooded murder of five police officers in Dallas. Following that tragic event, in a moment of pointed clarity, the Dallas Chief of Police plainly said: “We’re asking cops to do too much… policing was never meant to solve all those problems.”
He’s right; policing in the 21st century brings with it new responsibilities and new challenges. Yet, what hasn’t changed is that the rule of law, and those who enforce it, are crucial to the ordered liberty which makes America the land of the free.
As a member of the federal law enforcement community during my decade and a half as an FBI Supervisory Special Agent, and a former Special Assistant U.S. Attorney I understand that our nation is under constant threat, unimaginable just a generation ago. Terrorism blurs the lines of traditional law enforcement – a foreign menace on domestic soil. It places every police officer and first responder on the front lines of this battle as they protect our families and communities in small towns and big citiesaround the country.
This is stress on a level unfathomable to most. And yet lawmakers often neglect to do what they can to address it.
Federal, state and local law enforcement must be provided with all of the tools necessary to keep us safe. This is much more than simply purchasing traditional equipment and gear associated with policing; It means adopting the policies proven to stop terrorism, like information sharing.
Equally important, it means ensuring that all municipalities comply with our laws. Case in point, severalcities across the United States, including Philadelphia are known as ‘Sanctuary Cities.’ These cities refuse to notify federal authorities when a non-citizen living in the U.S. illegally is going to be released from police custody, even if that person is convicted of a violent felony, is an active gang member or suspected of being a terrorist. Not reporting criminals or potential terrorists to federal authorities is a recipe for disaster, particularly when it is potentially happening just a few miles away from our homes.
These are just some of the daily challenges, yet often this herculean effort of facing them is met with apathy or ignorance by many. While we recognize the sacrifices of those who lay down their lives in service at Blue Masses or during Police Week, we find it easy to take for granted the good and important work done each day.
In the midst of these threats, police forces likewise face the challenge of public concern regarding discrimination – real or perceived. Our TV screens are flooded with marches and protests airing these grievances and talking heads too often committed to stoking division and resentment. This is unproductive and, as such, unacceptable.
A conversation is impossible if we are talking past each other.
The division in America must end. We must, as a nation, come together to end hatred and violence once and for all.
This end will never be met though separation, finger-pointing or labeling. And it will certainly not be reached when polluted with divisive rhetoric or partisan gamesmanship. Healing the wounds that so obviously are impacting our nation and communities can only be accomplished by encouraging mutual respect and understanding.
Toward this goal, we all have a role to play because, like most issues, this is not one which can be solved solely by political leaders in far off capitals. Community groups, local leaders, faith-based organizations and residents of every background and viewpoint must all play a part in uniting us once again.
Having supported counterterrorism efforts during my time FBI as well as having worked to restore trust in governments and institutions around the globe, I believe my experience affords a unique perspective on the steps we can take together – both in security and community.
If elected to serve as your voice in Congress, I will work each day to address the issues we face as a nation head-on, knowing that ensuring security and opportunity for every American are goals that transcend ideology, race, creed and color and must always be held above politics.
Originally ran in The Advance of Bucks Co. – July 31, 2016