On September 29, 2014, I opined on the national debate surrounding Ferguson, Missouri, here at LookLifeAndTimes.com, with a post titled, “Ferguson, Mo., Michael Brown, Unarmed and Killed.” (To see this post, scroll down on this site, (WWW.LookLifeAndTimes.com) until you get to the post of September 29, 2014).
Most recently, on January 13, 2015, I spoke on community police relations at the City of Fontana, Council Meeting, during Public Communications.
I had given myself five minutes to state my case and consequently did not quote several individuals such as Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr.
The one individual that I would have liked to have quoted and I am not jesting when I say this, is Sir Charles Barkley, prominent former NBA professional and Sports newscaster.
I would like to quote Sir Charles here:
“We have to be really careful with the cops, man, because if it wasn’t for the cops we’d be living in the Wild Wild West in our neighborhoods. I think we can’t pick out certain incidents that don’t go our way and act like the cops are all bad. I hate when we do that. Think about it: Do you know how bad some of these neighborhoods would be if it wasn’t for the cops?”
I can go further and quote the great proponents of non-violence: Christ, Ghandi and King, just to mention a few.
However, I just wanted everyone to step back, as Sir Charles had done in that one statement that I quote him, and not only consider the challenges that our communities face but also the great challenges that the Law Enforcement community internalizes.
In my humble opinion, the nation is indebted to the youth of Ferguson, Missouri, who refused to remain silent and allow another case of injustice go unaccounted for.
On the other hand, again, in my humble opinion, the weight of resolution will rest in protesters turning that energy into votes cast at the ballot box.
If this is not the case, there will only be residuals instead of resolution.
The militarization of our local law enforcement must be stopped. Not put in check.
If we want the military, we can call up the National Guard.
We are not combatants.
The following statement was read before the Fontana, California, City Council on January 13, 2015
Good evening, my name is Rafael Garcia and I am here this evening to make a suggestion.
I am asking the Mayor, Council members, City Manager and community at large to take my suggestion under consideration, explore its possibilities and then possibly, put into place, some semblance of what I am about to suggest.
I propose that the City of Fontana proclaim one month this year,
Law Enforcement Officer’s Recognition Month.
There is only one very thin “Blue Line” that protects and defends all of us, day in, day out, 24/7, every day of the year, from all of the dangers and threats that exists in our daily lives.
Fontana Police Officers watch over all of us day and night.
The families of the Fontana Police Department must be recognized also.
Can you imagine, your wife, husband, daughter, son or other relation, going out, day in and day out to confront the dangers of this profession?
I am not Polly Anna. I am not naive. I am not suggesting that we sing “Kumbaya.”
Protests and controversy over the tragedies that have taken place in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City speak for themselves.
Pope Francis of the Roman Catholic Church recently apologized to the victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and Catholic nuns.
Former Virginia Governor, Seals was recently sentenced to two years in prison.
Congressman Michael Grim of Staten Island, New York, faces 24 to 30 months of prison.
Scandal, atrocities, war, crime and tragedy has plagued man since time immemorial.
Vietnam veterans were given orders by their country and when they came home they were scorned.
Today, we call upon the brave, highly trained, qualified and dedicated members of the Fontana Police Department to not just protect and defend us. But to put their very lives on the line do just that!
Let us not forget, dismiss or allow to go unsung the praise and recognition our Law Enforcement Officers deserve every day.
Our community is abundant with warriors.
From the “Great Generation” who served in the Pacific, North Africa and Europe.
Another generation followed its calling and saw action in Korea.
My generation went to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.
Later, another generation went to Iraq and Kuwait.
We are just beginning to shake the sands of Afghanistan off of our boots.
All of these old warriors are in our community.
Our community has enough warriors.
Our community needs guardians.
In regard to the controversy that our nation faces in regard to police relations, I can safely say that no one likes a bad cop.
But everyone loves a good cop.
This gold standard must be held and maintained by the civil service administration in the City of Fontana, Internal Affairs of the Fontana Police Department, the Chief of Police, the Mayor, the City Council and last but not least, the community of Fontana.
On the subject of diversity and ethnic representation, in my opinion, the onus is on the community.
I can testify that the Fontana City Administration and the Fontana Police Department are dedicated to recruit, hire and train candidates from all races, religions and ethnicities.
The African American and Hispanic communities have to do more to encourage and enlist young people to join this proud and honorable profession of Law Enforcement.
I would like to close this discussion with thoughts on the design for a proposed “Law Enforcement Officers Recognition Month.”
First, discussion with community civic and business groups: Senior Citizens, Veterans, Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis, Lions, Etcetera.
Second, identify “Ambassadors” within these community groups to play a role in the actual design and development of a project such as a “Law Enforcement Officers Recognition Month”
Third, celebrate this month with art shows, car shows, doll shows and music.
Fourth, a weekend closing event. I would like to suggest skate board events.
These events would be under the direction of the Fontana Police Department Explorers Program.
Showcase the exemplary work our youth perform and what Fontana Police Department Law Enforcement Officers provide to our community.
As Grand Marshall for this program, I would like to recommend former Fontana Policeman, former Fontana Police Chief, former Fontana City Councilman and former Mayor, Mr. Frank Scialdone.
Mayor Aquanetta Warren, I propose that you petition the National Conference of Mayors to have the federal government provide funding to retool the nationwide Police Athletic League (PAL) system.
Thank you very much.