Letter: Police Deserve Respect of Public

Many of us have seen the recent videos capturing multiple incidents of New York City police officers who were intentionally and maliciously soaked with water and struck with buckets.

  It was disturbing to me to witness these public servants humiliated and disrespected in such a callous manner while simply doing their job-keeping the neighborhoods they patrol safe.

As a Suffolk County Legislator and a member of the Suffolk County Public Safety Committee, I feel compelled to speak up and denounce the offensive and unacceptable behavior.

The video beckons us to return to basic values of honor and respect for police officers who are in our communities to ensure public safety. Just as it is the responsibility of police officers to engage with the public in a professional manner, we, too, must take care to engage with public safety officers with a level of respect and decency. Behind the uniforms are human beings who are sons and daughters, mothers and fathers- neighbors and loved ones.

I stand with Long Island elected officials and police officers, including County Executive Bellone, Suffolk County Police Commissioner Hart, District Attorney Sini and others who are working on legislation to prevent such unacceptable acts. This type of behavior puts us all at risk and cannot be tolerated.

There are many examples throughout our communities of law enforcement and residents working together to create bonds that foster positive relationships which improve safety in our neighborhoods and add to quality of life. In fact, just this past weekend my office worked hand in hand with officers from the 2nd Precinct to engage local youth at the Annual Coral Park Basketball Tournament. 

This positive activity provides young people the opportunity to get to know local officers, ultimately enhancing and encouraging trust and regard for the role of law enforcement.

As painful as these videos are to watch, let’s use them as motivation to place greater value on those bonds and promote respect for public servants and let’s use our voices to stand up against senseless acts that jeopardize public safety.

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