To the editor:

On Aug. 11, sheriffs from all around the country, including myself, had the opportunity to participate in a historic conference call with the president of the United States of America. Through this call, sheriffs were able to learn of President Trump’s efforts and about his intentions to keep our nation safe. I was honored to speak on behalf of the National Sheriffs’ Association and share some of the challenges currently facing public safety with the president. As elected sheriffs who proudly serve our communities as our counties’ chief law enforcement officers, we see, hear and feel the concerns of the electorate firsthand. It is important that we convey these matters with other elected officials, and especially the president, as we work together for positive outcomes.

We know that effective teamwork is essential for communities to thrive during these uniquely difficult times. I was honored to discuss the importance of federal, state and local partnerships to hold sponsors of violence accountable for their actions. Each of our families are entitled to live in safe environments where they feel secure, and they deserve that we work to ensure that happens. During these unprecedented times, we cannot forget our ultimate purpose is to protect and serve our communities with excellence.

As sheriffs, we remain united in our commitment as we stand shoulder to shoulder to fight bias and any type of injustice. We appreciate the support of the president and other federal partners in our efforts to keep all people safe in their communities. In addition, we will continue to work with all local, state and federal elected officials to ensure that our neighborhoods are protected from a variety of threats including human trafficking, violence and the flow of illegal drugs.

It is the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office’s mission to protect and serve the community in a manner that preserves the public trust. We know, and embrace, that community partnerships and the trust of the public are paramount. We have and will continue to operate with a high level of integrity, with an attitude of service toward all.

Sheriff James Stuart

Anoka County Sheriff’s Office

(2) comments

Rod Kuehn

This is a nice form letter. It touches security and justice but fails to satisfy. I'd have thought he'd want to put more distance between his department and the open contempt for community and life exhibited by the officers who murdered Mr. Floyd and the Minneapolis police union that pushed for immediate reinstatement.

I received the same canned response in my conversation with several City of Anoka officers at the demonstration. I inquired about police culture, police unions, the role of police in securing free speech, etc. I was looking for some sign that the murder had touched them personally, viscerally.

If I were an officer, I'd feel betrayed and outraged by the cops who murdered Floyd. I'd lose a lot of sleep thinking about the lost life, the pain to the survivors, the loss of community credibility, and how much more difficult my job would be. Their canned responses acknowledged no such feelings.

President Trump's support also fails to inspire confidence.

MelThomp

I was struck by the comment "families are entitled to live in safe environments where they feel secure, and they deserve that we work to ensure that happens." because while I think we can all agree with that statement, the fact is, that it is only true in "some" communities and that is at the core of BLM movement as I understand it. When you live in a community where violence is so prevalent, and yet fear of the police is equal to that of the criminals there is a huge problem. I have said it many times, I feel blessed to live in a community where LE for the most part has a positive presence, but I recognize that comes from a place privilege I enjoy as a white woman. I understand that my experience does not reflect anyone else's. That said I think one of the things we have going for our for community, something which is being advocated in others is "community policing". Many of our officers live in or very near the cities they patrol. This creates connection and trust, 2 more qualities missing in the MPD. I just wish there was a genuine effort to at least consider the plight of others and recognize our experiences, are just that, our own and don't reflect the experiences of others, To learn, we need to ask, and be willing to listen to experiences separate from our own. This is not an "either/or" conversation. Black Lives Matter, AND Blue Lives Matter, we can, (they are not mutually exclusive) and we should be able to say that without fear of retribution. Then and only then can we begin to heal as a community and a nation.

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