Dear Police Chief . . .
I sent this email to the police chief in my city two days ago. I urge you to send something similar to yours and to ask folks who live around you to do the same. I intend to follow up over the coming days by sending him examples (which have trickled in) of police officers in other parts of the country who are saying something public about this. I also intend to foll0w up until I hear something back.
Feel free to plagiarize and or tailor to fit your location.
Dear Chief LaDue,
I’m writing as a concerned and engaged citizen of West Des Moines (who happens to be white). I am hoping that the WDM police department will consider (if it has not already) making a public statement again the ongoing problem of police officers shooting unarmed African Americans citizens. I am particularly moved to write today, given the killing of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa (of which so many Americans have now seen the footage), and the treatment of protestors by police officers in Charlotte last night and today (protestors organized to speak up about the killing of Keith Lamont).
In the many forums I have been part of in the last two years about citizen concerns about police treatment of African American and Latino/a Americans—many of whom are willing to work with police for deeper understanding and relationships–there is a regular refrain that is made: “This was an isolated incident. Let’s wait for the facts. Most cops are good cops.”
I deeply believe for the good of all citizens, it’s time for good law enforcement officers to speak out against this problem. We are in a national crisis, and good officers (of which I continue to believe there are many) need to join those of us attempting to stop this violence.
I ask that the WDM police department, who has in various ways and many times shown up to honorably respond to needs I have had in my years as a West Des Moines citizen, will show how honorable and committed they are to the well-being, experiences and concerns of the citizens of West Des Moines—but especially of citizens of color in West Des Moines—and take a public stand to help us stop this epidemic.
Police officers are powerful people. A national movement of good officers standing against the killing of unarmed Black men, woman (and children!!) is desperately needed right now and could go a long way to end this crisis. And, I can assure you, were you to take a stand, many people in the West Des Moines (and Des Moines) area would stand up with you, have your back and applaud you like never before.
Thank you for your serious time and attention to this concern. I look forward to hearing from you.
Jennifer Harvey (citizen of West Des Moines)