Thank you Chief Simpson and Dallas City Police Department
As we all are affected by the senseless, horrific murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, by a police officer that had no regard for basic human rights and disgraced the badge that he wore, we each are faced with the reality that racism still exists.
Thank you to Chief Tom Simpson, Dallas Oregon Police Department, for taking the time to give your heartfelt words and all of Dallas City Police Department for your dedication and genuine concern for all of us here in Dallas while upholding the mission of the Dallas Oregon Police Department.
Below is the sincere letter to Dallas, OR and surrounding areas from Chief Simpson that he posted on Facebook on June 1, 2020, under the Dallas Oregon Police Department page.
To our friends and neighbors in Dallas and surrounding areas...
Over the past few days and nights I’ve been watching what has been occurring across our state and across our country, and reflecting as to how these atrocities can occur. Peaceful protests are understandable. The senseless mayhem and looting—while concerning—is not the most troubling issue at hand. The looting and rioting seems to be the work of people who are actually impeding the efforts of those who are trying to peacefully protest and genuinely seek change.
What’s most troubling for me and many in our profession is the underlying issue—and this has been at the forefront of my mind. It’s hard to fathom how someone can choose to wear the law enforcement uniform and then disgrace it and everything we stand for by carrying out violence against another human being under the guise of authority.
Also for the past few days, I’ve contemplated how best to convey to our local community the sorrow and disgust those of us who proudly wear the badge feel—once again learning of a tragedy committed by some who wears the law enforcement uniform and then commits unthinkable acts. Today I’ve come to the reality that there is just no “best way”. This was a senseless act. It’s encouraging to me that the authorities in Minnesota were able to quickly remove the perpetrator from the position of authority and initiate appropriate legal action.
Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go to the family and friends of George Floyd, a gentleman who suffered a tragic, senseless death, perpetrated by yet another person who chose to tarnish the badge I’ve worn for nearly forty years.
Over the years, people sometimes ask why police background investigations can take so long. When these tragic events occur, it reinforces the extreme importance of doing everything in our power to ensure that newcomers to our profession are chosen carefully. It’s imperative that we do our best to make sure that those whom we select to take the oath of office and then put on our uniform, are people who truly believe in—and will purpose to emulate on a daily basis—the core values of our profession. Integrity, respect and compassion for others are among the most important of those values.
I’d like to paraphrase a comment made recently by fellow police chief, and long-time friend Jerry Moore, in a letter to the Salem community he serves. He pointed out that yours is, “…a trust which we do not take lightly and which we believe we must strive to earn each day.”
For those that might not have come across it, the mission statement of the Dallas Police Department is to provide professional, effective and unbiased police services in a fair and ethical manner. Unbiased—irrespective of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status or even political persuasion. Fair and Ethical—treating others with dignity and respect, irrespective of whether we’re giving directions to a community visitor or whether taking some type of enforcement action. I believe that in general, everyone we serve is a customer and deserves to be treated with a servant’s heart—with true compassion and respect. Just because the circumstances dictate enforcement action is necessary, doesn’t mean we cannot strive to take whatever action is appropriate with compassion and respect.
Please know this: those of us at the Dallas police department appreciate the trust you place in us to provide police services to the community. As Chief Moore noted, we will always strive to earn your trust each day. If this tragic event has caused you to doubt your trust in us, I hope you’ll allow us to earn back the trust as we work hard to create positive relationships with our community members.
Commensurate with that philosophy, we are human and must acknowledge that we sometimes make mistakes. If this should occur, please give us an opportunity to fix things. I encourage all of our officers—me included—to acknowledge the mistakes we make, learn from them and make corrections as necessary to become better…better people in general and better servants to our community.
Thank you Dallas, for being a supportive community and please feel comfortable reaching out to me anytime with suggestions as to how we can do a better job of serving you.
Following this post, I’ll share the joint statement from the Oregon Association Chiefs of Police, the Oregon State Police and the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association.
~Tom Simpson, Chief of Police