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LTC Stephen F.
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Edited 7 mo ago
Thank you my friend MSgt Robert "Rock" Aldi for posting 'Broken' Seattle police officer shares heartbreaking letter

"Seattle officer pens heartbreaking letter
I am a police officer in your city. I say your city because I don’t live in the geographic boundaries that make up “Seattle.” My kids were fully entrenched in school in a neighboring city when I decided to become an officer and I didn’t want to uproot them.

My experiences are my own but I believe other officers will have had similar experiences and may be nodding their heads when they read portions of this letter.

I thrust myself into law enforcement after finishing my training and being put out on patrol.

I chased the criminals like most new officers in an effort to keep them from victimizing you.

During that time I won awards from the community and my commanders. It was nice to be recognized, especially by minority groups who unfortunately make up a disproportionate amount of crime victims.

I have suffered significant injuries while serving you, some of which caused me to be hospitalized and others were painful but transitory.

Collaborating with residents to address the crime and predatory criminals in their neighborhood have been some of the most satisfying experiences in my life.

I hold close to my heart the interactions I have had with those residents, but even closer to my heart are the drug addicts and criminals who I have assisted in getting their life together … sometimes forever and sometimes for just a few years.

Knowing I helped a prostitute get off drugs and stay clean for 4+ years so she could reconnect with her children is an amazing feeling that I cannot explain.

I hope her children remember her for those years of sobriety and not for the years she was lost in her drug addiction.

When in the academy, an instructor asked us theoretical questions about how we viewed criminals in general and the public at large. She wanted to get an insight into how we viewed the job and our role within society at large. She thought she could get a glimpse at how we would perform as individuals.

My response to her was that I would try to recognize criminals’ humanity because when I recognized their humanity I was recognizing my own humanity. I know it sounds goofy and esoteric but that was and is my belief.

It was with that mindset that I went out to perform my service to you.

The criminals who I have interacted with trust me because I always treated them as human beings first, while still holding them accountable for their illegal behavior.

Police officers are very mission oriented problem solvers by nature and I am definitely that type of person.

So I work in this career trying to serve you, performing THE MISSION, and solving problems along the way … sometimes for a short time (why don’t you go stay at a friend’s tonight until you both have time to calm down) and sometimes permanently.

During that time I have had a mayor get angry and throw papers at me, several chiefs angry enough to try to get me to quit for being a truth teller, friends kill themselves when proper leadership could have saved them, [and] agitator lawyers go on TV and demand I be fired for a lie they were told.

I once saw a white woman walking with her five children in tow, biracial children. I waived at them from my patrol car and received a friendly wave in return from their 5 year old … only to have the mother yell angrily at the child “DON’T YOU WAVE AT THE POLICE!”

I gotta admit … that one stung. It put tears in my eyes that anyone would do that to their child. It almost broke me emotionally. My spouse could tell you how it affected me. It still hurts.

It didn’t break me.

Later that night I found a broken child’s bike abandoned in the ditch. I saw it as a cosmic sign and a way to return to my mission. Always THE MISSION first.

I rebuilt the bike and a few days later dropped it off on that child’s porch with a note that said “compliments of the Seattle Police Department.”

I hope that kid enjoyed the bike. I always imagined what the smile on her face must have been like when she found it on her porch.

I cannot forget to mention that people have tried to kill me. Once by vehicle attack, another time by fire, and a few times by firearms and knives.

I have always returned to THE MISSION after surviving those encounters.

I want that last part to sink in. People tried to kill me while I was trying to protect you and your loved ones.

Yet, I always came back to THE MISSION. Serving you.

Protecting you as best as I could.

Taking my work phone home with me and answering your phone calls and texts on my days off.

Making you feel like it was safe for your kids play ball in the street because that horrible neighbor was now in prison.

Along the way my spouse and children suffered. They didn’t understand why I would choose to experience all this for strangers.

Over the years I have tried to explain it to my family. I think my spouse understands but I am not sure my children have had enough life experience to fully grasp what I have been teaching them.

They didn’t understand why when a person was elected president that Seattlites didn’t like, why I had to go to “don’t be a Nazi” training.

The people who live with me know I am the furthest thing from that so why are the people I serve worried I would round up and imprison them for some far off politician.

Didn’t break me.

Not even close.

Back to THE MISSION.

Protecting you.

I wanted you to be able to go to the park without having to fear one of the predators break into your house while you were gone.

Then came the George Floyd protests. It was not a new experience to have protesters screaming in my face. Telling me to “go kill yourself, pull out your Glock, put it in your mouth, and pull the trigger and make the world better,” “They hired you because you have an IQ below 80 and will do whatever they tell you to do,” and “I know you beat your wife because …”

Blaming me for the actions of another person far away. I am used to that. I can ignore it, look over his head into the crowd, perform my duties, fulfill my mission of making it safe for protesters to air their grievances and seek redress from their government.

I believe that stuff. I believe in “THE MISSION.” I believe you should be free and safe.

They threw glass bottles, rocks, pieces of steel, chunks of concrete, and even improvised explosive devices (the ones the media have video of but won’t show you.)

I used the tools I was issued, and trained on, to stop the assaults and keep the East Precinct so THE MISSION could be performed. Protecting you from predatory criminals. Letting you walk your neighborhood in peace.

I wish I hadn’t had to have been there for several nights. I wish the neighbors had not had to suffer through the mayhem but I didn’t choose the location, it was chosen by others.

That didn’t break me. I was so proud of my coworkers, some of whom have been riding a desk for decades but were right there on the lines, doing their duty. Professionally, not losing their temper and saying something that would reflect poorly on themselves and the department. God bless all of you.

It didn’t break me … nope.

Then came the politicians standing right in front of me, on the front lines, calling me a racist killer cop. Standing next [to] people who were telling us to kill ourselves, with people around them handing out rocks and bottles which were thrown at me shortly thereafter.

That didn’t break me either. Nice try. Anarchists, I bet you were surprised that we … that I … still did my duty. The anarchists’ belief system includes how horrible I am because I chose to wear a uniform and serve the community so why would I go through all of this?

Belief in THE MISSION. I believe in it. I believe that without safety and public order we cannot have freedom. You cannot feel safe with disorder and without public safety.

Freedom requires it.

But I must admit. I have now been broken.

I don’t believe in THE MISSION or at least in my ability to perform the mission.

At this point in time you have not earned my duty and dedication to “THE MISSION.” You don’t deserve me.

That may sound harsh. You may recoil at that line. But go back to my experiences before the part where the politicians sold me and you out. I made it through all of that unbroken.

The anarchists and Jacobin Marxists currently controlling our city’s future have created an environment that will not allow public order and safety to be maintained. And that puts your freedom in peril.

When a mob can control city streets, those who do not agree with the mob are not free.

Who is responsible for this breakdown?

You.

You are allowing it.

Whether you are afraid to speak up to your political leaders. Whether you feel like “I pay the police to deal with that stuff.” Or maybe you just try to ignore political stuff altogether.

This is your responsibility.

I, & the collective “we” the police officers, cannot change the trajectory Seattle is on right now.

Only you can change it.

Only you can march in the streets against the mob or flood the city council meetings … only you who don’t want to see mayhem, disorder, and anarchy in your city can stop it. Only you can make the politicians allow us to complete “THE MISSION.”

Only you can unbreak me. Only you can let me return to THE MISSION.

I await your decision."

FYI SPC Chris Bayner-Cwik SFC William Farrell SPC Woody Bullard LTC John Shaw COL Mikel J. Burroughs SPC Douglas Bolton SPC Margaret Higgins SGT Cynthia Barnard Cynthia Croft SGT Steve McFarland Lt Col Charlie Brown LTC D. Wayne Gregory Maj William W. 'Bill' Price Maj Bill Smith, Ph.D. CPT Jack Durish TSgt David L. 1SG (Join to see) SCPO Morris Ramsey
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Capt Gregory Prickett
Capt Gregory Prickett
7 mo
The key issue missing from the letter? Any concern about what bad cops do to citizens, and the lack of accountability for the same.
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CPT Jack Durish
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I live in a small community of about 75,000, and don't see any anarchists in the streets. My neighbors and I openly support our law enforcement officers. We're proud of them. We honor them. Honestly, I think the same is true in small communities all across America and bet that any one of them would welcome this officer of the law with open arms. So, what's wrong in Seattle and Baltimore, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago...? Leadership? Yes, it's tempting to join the refrain blaming Democrats who rule over all these places, but I can't. Ultimately, it is We the People. We (well those "We" occupying those cities) rule over themselves just as We who live in smaller, less politically significant communities rule over ourselves. What's right about us and wrong about them? Ultimately, we both have the government we deserve. We have the homes we deserve. We have the streets we deserve. We have the law and order or the anarchy we deserve. Why do We the People in small communities deserve better? That, as Shakespeare wrote, is the question...
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Lt Col John (Jack) Christensen
Lt Col John (Jack) Christensen
7 mo
Spot on Jack!
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Lt Col John (Jack) Christensen
Lt Col John (Jack) Christensen
7 mo
Sgt John Houck Perhaps, but did you lose your identity when in the military? Some people are just molded easier than others and urban/rural areas has nothing to do with it.
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CPT Jack Durish
CPT Jack Durish
7 mo
Lt Col John (Jack) Christensen - That was a long time ago, long before the current shit storm which may help explain something. The population in American cities has increased greatly during the intervening years while the rural population has either remained static or fallen
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Sgt John Houck
Sgt John Houck
7 mo
CPT Jack Durish, Lt Col John (Jack) Christensen - A lot of individualism has been lost in the age of urbanization. The computer age, internet, and 24 hour news has lead to the spread of group think. So I was speaking about two forms of urbanization. It takes place virtually as well as physically. However, this is just a very small piece of the puzzle because you have to factor in education, social and economic standing...
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Lt Col Charlie Brown
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This is terrible and heartbreaking and I know how he feels...
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Lt Col Charlie Brown
Lt Col Charlie Brown
7 mo
Thanks and I sent this out to a number of people
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