The police chief in Dallas said the most profound thing today but very few people in the media are talking about it. Chief David Brown was addressing the racial divide in this country and said, “If anything could be done (to fix it), it needs to be done by the public, which includes the protestors.” He then issued a challenge. “Don’t be part of the problem. We’re hiring. Get out of the protest line and fill out an application.” He’s right.
If you are one of the people who believe the current system is broken, that our police nationwide need a cultural sea change, then take the advice of Chief Brown and instead of holding a protest sign, pick up a job application. Fix it from the inside. A friend of mine who works with a local police department told me they go out of their way to hire the most diverse force possible, but they simply don’t get the applicants. Why is that?
Is police work too dangerous? It is and always has been. Are the pay and benefits not equal to the responsibility? One could certainly make that argument, especially this week. Maybe some people have no interest in writing speeding tickets or carrying a gun all day; I totally understand that rationale (I know I don’t want the job). But there are some who won’t suit up because that doesn’t fit with their narrative, that police are bad and it’s more fun to throw stones. If that’s really what you think, I’m reminded of a quote from an old Texas politician named Sam Rayburn: “A jackass can kick down a barn, but it takes a carpenter to build one.” It does.
Chief David Brown of the Dallas Police Department is that carpenter who has dedicated his life to bringing change to his force and what are his thanks for that herculean effort? Death threats directed at him and his family today in the wake of the Dallas police murders. Some want him dead because when it comes to the issue of young men black men being killed at the hands of police they see David Brown as part of the problem. There’s just one problem with that logic….David Brown is black.
I don’t pretend to have even one-tenth of the answers needed to fix the racial divisions of this country, but I think Chief Brown is on the right path. It takes courage to leave the screaming crowd and stand tall and alone and say, “I want to fix this. Sign me up.”
I’ll be curious how many do.