National Police Week: A message from Hemet Police Chief Brown
HEMET – With tomorrow being the last day of National Police Week, Hemet Police Chief David Brown took some time out of his busy schedule to write about what police week means to him. In a post to social media, Brown shared his thoughts.
In 1962, President Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day. He also designated the calendar week in which May 15 falls as National Police Week. Established by a joint resolution of Congress in 1962, National Police Week honors and pays special recognition to law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty while serving their communities and ensuring the safety and protection of others.
Over the 106 year history of the Hemet Police Department, we have never lost an officer in the line of duty. In December 2001, two Hemet police officers were shot while responding to a disturbance call on Mayberry Avenue in downtown Hemet, but they both recovered and returned to work. They both still serve our community today.
This week I want to encourage my fellow citizens to take a moment to consider the enormous sacrifice, courage and risk taken every day by our police officers. Nelson Mandela said that “courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.” John Wayne said, “Courage is being scared to death…and saddling up anyway.”
Our police officers willingly put themselves in harm’s way on a daily basis. They are increasingly being violently assaulted and encountering armed suspects. Last year there were 25 violent assaults on Hemet police officers as compared to 10 the year before. They have encountered and successfully disarmed 52 suspects with loaded firearms in 2016 alone. The danger in increasing and the risk is real.
As your police chief, I worry about two things; the safety of our citizens and the safety of our police officers. Every time my phone rings at 2 o’clock in the morning, I pray it is not that call, because I know the danger they face. I also know their families, their parents, wives, husbands and kids. I know they are highly trained and extremely well prepared, but I also know there are more hard-core criminals on the streets of Hemet than ever before in the history of our city. Failed policy at the state level has created enormous danger for our citizens and officers alike.
And yet, our police officers are still willing to stand in the gap between us and those who would harm us. They are willing to run toward danger, not because they are fearless, but because they are courageous. We owe them a wave, a note or a prayer this week, thanking them for what they do. And we owe them our respect all year for what they are willing to do on our behalf in the face of real and increasing danger.
I’m so thankful that the men and women of the Hemet Police Department are willing to ‘saddle up’ every day and every night to watch out for our safety. Every one of them cares deeply for our community. I am proud to be their chief and fortunate that we live in a community that appreciates their service.
David M.Brown, Chief of Police