We are filled with nothing but solidarity for our fellow first responders, and have a profound respect for their work. We are a FAMILY. We stand by our brothers and sisters in blue. Our thoughts and prayers go out to DPD, DART Police, and DFR (Dallas Fire-Rescue). One team. RIP Brothers, we'll take it from here.
I would be remiss if I did not, as a President and Union leader, briefly mention some issues near and dear to all first responders who put on the uniform everyday.
Political Games Have No Place in Public Safety
Whether it is the events that happened on that fateful day on 9-11-2001, or the tragic shooting of police officers in Dallas, Texas on 7-7-2016, City Managers and Politicians need to stop playing games with Public Safety. The lives and well-being of ALL people should remain paramount, without the risk of being dragged into political chess matches by those seeking personal or financial gain. The men and women on the frontlines courageously go to work everyday, not knowing if they are going to arrive back home to their families safely. We will lay down our lives to save the citizens we serve. This has been exhibited time and time again.
Now is the Time for Political Support, Not Rhetoric.
In order for us to do the best job possible in keeping the streets safe, we need the SUPPORT of City Managers and Politicans, and not RHETORIC. First responders need money for training and adequate staffing so we can perform our jobs with excellence. Restricting resources to an arbitrary number, such as 66% of the General Fund’s expenditures, needlessly puts lives at risk. At the core of all this, we need Chiefs and Managers that care about the first responders on the frontline because the morale of the first responders directly affects the quality of the service they render. Study after study has shown that leadership style always sets the tone for overall organizational performance...for better or worse. In this case, lack of confidence in the leadership and conflict with City Managers ultimately leads to the deterioration of the public's safety.
Police officers deserve what many politicians refer to as "rich benefits" because their SELFLESS and DANGEROUS work in protecting the public comes at the greatest of risks. We must not forget that their lives are valuable, TOO.
In many other careers, there are easily defined limits to a person's job description and what it will take to perform that job. But no one can put a limit on what it takes to perform a first responder's job...because what it takes to perform their job may ultimately cost them their lives. As first responders, we accept this. All the first responders I know will gladly give their life to save another. And just like everyone else who works for a living, we want to be able to provide for our families and have the necessary resources to do the best job possible.
If anything good is to come from the tragedy in Dallas, let it be UNITY and SUPPORT for those who run toward the danger and into the chaos to help others survive. And constant prayer for ALL of our brothers and sisters in Blue.
Christopher A. Steele