I want to thank you for taking time to reach out and share your thoughts. What is happening in our community and communities throughout the nation is important to creating a new social compact of how we want, and should, treat one another.
We support the right to peacefully assemble. As people exercise their first amendment rights, our focus is on their safety and the safety of others. There have been several peaceful protests in Springfield in as many weeks.
However, the events from July 29, 2020 in Thurston have prompted considerable response from our community and beyond. I have heard fear, concern, outrage, and compassion. To your concerns, I am listening. I am also listening to many others including protest participants, neighboring families, and community members throughout Springfield. We are taking careful review of video footage of the events that occurred – which will include an investigation and a review by a use of force expert from outside of our department.
I support and respect the Black Lives Matter movement. I support and respect the officers at the Springfield Police Department. These are not mutually exclusive. I recognize and value each. I also recognize and respect the very important movement happening across our nation for justice and equality. Springfield will be a partner in that work. Through the formation of a Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Panel, we will engage a diverse group of community members in an effort to bring us together, with better understanding and shared agreements, on a set of actions and outcomes that ensures Springfield is a welcoming community to all. I look forward to sharing more details about this effort as it takes shape. Tangible action is what Springfield does best and we will deliver.
As a leader in this community, it is important that I have clarity before responding to detailed concerns – especially accusations of brutality or criminal conduct by our officers. Please know that we are taking in all the feedback, questions, and concerns and are doing our due diligence to evaluate them. I will not, however, provide a calming soundbite as this matter deserves our thoughtful attention.
Thank you for reaching out to me. I am listening and I will continue to listen as we work toward actions that bring about greater equality, respect, and appreciation of one another.