Dear Eau Claire community members:
Monday marked one week since George Floyd’s tragic death. Like most in our community, we watched in horror as Floyd lost his life due to the actions, and inaction, of several Minneapolis police officers.
What we saw embodied callousness and a lack of value for human life and human dignity. It is the mission of the Eau Claire Police Department to serve and protect all our residents. To treat all with dignity and respect. To partner with our community for its safety and well-being.
We recognize our community and communities around the country are hurting. There is hurt from the violence against Floyd and there is hurt from far too many similar instances of institutional violence and other forms of oppression in our American history. We are reminded of instances of individual racism. We are reminded of systematic racism, whether it be in our institutions or the lack of access to opportunity.
These events cause many to question whether pillars of our society such as law enforcement and the justice system are there to support and keep them safe. For those that too often experience suppression from those sworn to their service it fosters mistrust. The Eau Claire Police Department is dedicated to continually earning the trust of all our residents and welcomes opportunities to strengthen relationships with any portion of our community.
We stand as a partner against police brutality, as a partner against violence and are committed to strengthening trust within our community. Trust is built through our individual and institutional actions.
Trust is displayed by honoring our community values of integrity, compassion, commitment and transparency. Trust is furthered by making certain we hire police officers who reflect our community, have the right ethical qualities and care about others. Trust is strengthened by properly training our officers, ensuring accountability and listening to and responding to community concerns. Trust is realized when we work together as a community to solve problems, ensure safety and security, and make Eau Claire a better place for all, regardless of our differences.
This past weekend we witnessed our caring community express pain, anger and passion for meaningful change with a peaceful march through downtown, a virtual remembrance event and candles lit throughout Eau Claire. Powerful, nonviolent expressions that unify and move the community forward.
Working together we are confident Eau Claire can become an even stronger community.
Rokus is chief of police in Eau Claire, and Peters is city manager.
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