In 2015, I, along with other Executive Board members, was in Washington, D.C., for the Top Cops award ceremony. It was the first time I had ever attended the ceremony, and did not know what to expect. The ceremony was really interesting. Several stories of heroic officers across the country doing what heroes do every day. The ceremony included a guest speaker, who I really did not know. The man, an older guy in a nice suit, was speaking the praises of law enforcement and his unwavering support for the police. This man was a really good speaker and showed passion and enthusiasm for police. I learned later that the man was actually part of the Obama administration. It was rather shocking to hear someone speaking so highly of police when the administration back then didn’t appear to be pro-law-enforcement due to all the consent decrees across the country, as well as the taking of equipment from police. But this man gave some hope about someone in the administration who was pro-police. When he was done speaking, the entire room stood and applauded, and I said to Bryan Yant, “I could see that guy being president one day.”
It turned out this man was the newly elected president, Joe Biden.
I look back on the speech that Joe Biden gave then, and I hope that somewhere deep down inside of him, that man is still in there. From a lot of the things we have heard, it doesn’t sound like supporting and assisting law enforcement is at the forefront of the new administration, but only time will tell.
Why do I bring up a positive speech about law enforcement from the winning candidate who we did not support? Simple, because we need to continue to move on and move forward. The president of the United States will change party to party many times over the life of the office. Sometimes, it will be a Democrat, and sometimes it will be a Republican. Heck, the smaller parties at some point could gain steam and put a candidate in the Oval Office. No matter who sits at the Resolute Desk, police work will continue and will always be a constant. No one in law enforcement can lose sight of what we are doing and why we are doing it. No one became a police officer because of who sits in the White House.
Did I want Donald Trump to win? Yes. Why? Because he showed unwavering support for law enforcement. In a time when people across the country were calling to “defund the police” and “strip away officers’ rights,” President Trump stood by us and said, “No, we need our police. Don’t be caught up in the rhetoric that all cops are bad.” But the support I gave to President Trump is support I could give to President Biden. All he needs to do is stand by our profession, outwardly and vocally. If he was the same man who gave that amazing speech, we would stand with him.
Regardless of who is our president, all of our officers need to just continue forward. Being a police officer is a non-partisan position. When we arrive on calls, our first questions aren’t “Are you hurt? Where is the bad guy? Are you Republican or Democrat?” Party lines are not a police officer’s concern. We concern ourselves with serving others and helping those who are not able to help themselves. The badge doesn’t have a donkey or an elephant engraved on it. Even our Sheriff runs on a non-partisan platform. And it needs to be that way. As I do not believe police officers have racism in their hearts and do not police communities or people based on racism, I also do not believe a police officer would or would not serve a citizen based on their political affiliation.
By the time this magazine releases, the Nevada Legislature session will be in full swing, and we will be potentially dealing with different levels of police reforms. We will see that legislation is often not about what is best for the state, rather what is best for the party. The LVPPA will be up at the session fighting any attacks on our profession and attempting to pass a few small, but important additions to your heart and lung and PTSD cases. Some of the legislators, making decisions on how police work should be done, will be passing laws without input from real police officers and listening to their own parties or caucuses about what changes need to happen. And almost every single person making these decisions will have never in their life put on a uniform and gone out and done the job of a police officer. But this is the system we have to deal with, and we know the game we have to play.
But as I said above, do not let the “why” you became a police officer change because rules to the job may change. Even at the level of the president of the United States, do not let that person change your “why.” Stay constant in the need to help the citizens of the state and the joy you feel when you are able to help a victim.
This story opened with the topic of the president speaking at a Top Cops award ceremony back in 2015 and how the PPA supported President Trump. President Trump lost. We need to accept it and work to move in a positive direction for our country, our state and our city. There is something I will continue to live by, and it is more important now than ever:
“I am not supporting the person sitting in the president’s chair at the White House. I am supporting the position of the president because if that position fails, we all fail. We must hope for the success of our president, no matter their party affiliation. This can only be done through fair legislation and bipartisan cooperation. Through this, our country will continue to be great.”
I would like to thank President Trump for his four years as president. That is not an easy job, and anyone assuming that position should be thanked. Thank you, also, for your continued support of law enforcement.
I would like to wish President Biden good luck in undertaking the office of the president. Because, as I said, if he fails, the country fails. Have a safe and healthy 2021 to all of the members of the LVPPA, as well as everyone in the law enforcement community across the country.