By Delegate Cheryl D. Glenn
As a ranking member of the Maryland House of Delegates and Chair of the Legislative Black Caucus, I cannot remain silent, I must stand up against these senseless killings that have taken place around the nation. My heart and condolences go out to the families of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and the families of the officers and the two civilians targeted in this horrifying terrorist attack in Dallas, Texas.
We cannot allow these deplorable acts to define our relationship with the men and women charged to protect us. The vast majority of law enforcement officers are good cops – a few bad apples, a few disconnected officers, do not define all police everywhere.
The caveat being that there must be real consequences for police officers who cross the line and murder innocent people. This is absolutely critical to the healing of the racial divide, and is absolutely critical to building the trust between the black community and law enforcement.
We must band together, with respect and understanding of the roles of law enforcement officers, to empower the good cops and punish the bad cops who abuse their authority, violate human rights, and U.S. laws.
We must band together to ensure that the good cops, who dedicate themselves to making a positive difference in the communities they serve and protect, are loved, respected, supported, and protected. Public safety is an all-hands-on-deck effort, in order to effectively address violent crimes, we must first trust each other.
Law enforcement needs reform
As we gleaned from the Freddie Gray trials, the law enforcement modus operandi needs to be reassessed and reformed.
We as a people need to take a larger role in ensuring that officers make it home to their families at the end of their shifts, in turn we need officers to abandon the “us versus them” mentality and the “above the law” attitude towards their authority.
No matter how many good cops there are, what has been shown on social media — the senseless cold-blooded murders by uniformed officers — cannot and will not be tolerated. Justice will only be served by the thorough and unbiased prosecution of all officers who violate the law. Officers who commit murder must be charged with murder and face the stiffest penalties prescribed by law.
Moving forward, we need independent investigations of law enforcement officers and “mandatory minimums” for the guilty. We also need national reform of law enforcement from recruitment, training, support services (such mental health, morale, and welfare), and a more community centric approach to policing. At the same time, the community needs to open up their hearts and minds to the men and women who give their lives to protect us – and together we must begin to build trust.
Let’s stand together, and unequivocally support the good cops who stand on the frontlines in our fight against violent crimes in America – but have their honor and integrity sullied by a few bad actors.
As a state delegate and chair of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland, I am committed to starting the process of building the trust between law enforcement and the black community, will you join me and the community at large?
Cheryl D. Glenn represent the 45th Legislative District in Baltimore.