Joint Statement - Letter of Support for the Membership
By ILFOPLC, Staff - Monday, June 15, 2020
We are exceedingly proud of the professionalism shown by Illinois' law enforcement officers while ensuring the First Amendment rights of this state's citizens to engage in peaceful protests following the tragic death of George Floyd. You were asked to safeguard the free speech of those who frequently used those rights to inflict levels of abuse on the police that most civilians would find difficult to imagine. Yet the overwhelming majority of you met the challenge with honor and dignity, stoicism and dedication. Your professional commitment to protecting those who seem to revile you the most is amazing and humbling.
The Illinois Police Reform Act of 2015 outlawed the tactics used by Minneapolis Police officers on that fateful day. Five years ago, in Illinois, all sides in the discussion realized that potentially fatal choke holds or moves that put pressure on airways have no place in modern policing. The use of those moves has been removed from all Illinois police officer training. There have been no incidents in Illinois since then of the type that proved deadly in Minneapolis. What happened to George Floyd in Minnesota would not have happened in Illinois.
The Minneapolis officers involved in that very troubling incident have been criminally charged and the law will hold them accountable for their actions. However, the actions of a few in Minnesota should not define all of the dedicated men and women in law enforcement who risk their lives each day to protect all citizens, regardless of race, age or gender. Racism or discrimination in any form has no place in our society or profession. The incident in Minneapolis has diminished the trust and respect that many in our communities have for law enforcement. That is unfortunate, but not insurmountable. We are committed to working with citizens from all parts of the community to foster healing and to reestablish an environment of empathy, understanding and trust.
While your true colors are shining through during recent crises, the true colors of our politicians will be coming to light soon as many will bow to the will of the loudest, most divisive voices in society. Anti-police legislation will be introduced, very few will acknowledge your good works, and fewer still will stand with you in solidarity. Courage takes many forms, and I urge you to note which of our leaders dares to stand and be counted with those who wear a badge.
In the meantime, as always, there is one thing you can count on. We have your back. That is our reason for being, and we can think of no calling more noble than protecting the protectors of each citizen of the United States of America.
God bless America, and God bless and keep the men and women of law enforcement.
Executive Director ILFOP Labor Council
On Behalf of the ILFOP Labor Council Executive Board
President, Illinois Fraternal Order of Police
On Behalf of the ILFOP Board of Trustees
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