As we continue our efforts to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the men and women of the Gloucester Township Police Department were shaken by the events that are happening this week in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The tragic death of Mr. George Floyd during the course of seemingly “routine” arrest, leaves me feeling disheartened and disgusted.
I feel disheartened because we in law enforcement work every day to earn the sacred trust of those we serve. I am disheartened because of what the arresting officer did and because the other officers did not intervene on behalf of Mr. Floyd. If they had, I would not be typing this message.
I feel disgusted because someone in my profession represented us very poorly. The officers involved failed to do the right thing. Their actions can undue all of the good work done every day by police officers throughout the country. But we will not let that happen.
We work every day to build the bonds and earn that sacred trust that we have with our Gloucester Township community. The men and women of the Gloucester Township Police Department love to serve our community, and they share in the disgust that I feel.
After the release of the video of the incident, every officer was directed to watch the video and reflect on what was done wrong. I asked all of the officers, dispatchers, and civilian staff to reflect on “why we do what we do” as servants to our community. We will honor the memory of Mr. Floyd by striving to do even better. We will not cover for, or make excuses, we call it as we see it. It appears that this was wrong, and Mr. Floyd should not have died during this incident. We will re-commit ourselves to being servants to our community. We will make our community bonds even stronger than they are.
We are proud of who we are, and of what we do. We will not go backwards, we will forge ahead. We will continue to serve with Compassion, Courage, Honesty, Respect, Fairness and Integrity. We are the thread that is interwoven in this great community of Gloucester Township, and we will be honorable Servant Leaders. We will strive to earn that sacred trust every day. That is what I expect of my officers and staff, and that is what they have delivered.
David J. Harkins
Chief of Police