July 8, 2016
I just participated in a conference call from FBI Director Comey, who has confirmed that the shooter of the police officers in Dallas was motivated by the recent media coverage of two officer-involved shootings. The killer was a combat veteran with no criminal record, whose sole intent was to kill white people, specifically white police officers. It’s early in the investigation, but it’s believed he acted alone (not completely confirmed).
We have been cautioned to be cognizant of potential “copy cat” like attacks on law enforcement officers, so please be mindful of your surroundings at all times. The FBI is monitoring social media across the country for any threats that are being stated (for instance, they are investigating a post in which a subject is trying to encourage the murder of police officers in Louisiana and that information was passed on to LE across that state).
Insofar as my sentiments to you, I am finding it difficult to find the words to express my feelings about what occurred. I often push back against the media and politicians portraying LE as killers of young black men, as if we do so systematically, and even the administration in the White House seems to feed that narrative. I’ve said such vitriol toward LE is going to bring the crazy out of people and place police officers lives in jeopardy; well, here we are.
I am sorry this happened. I am heartbroken, angry and fearful for each and everyone one of you as you seek to do nothing more than to protect the law abiding. I am beyond grateful for your continued commitment in spite of what has been going on across the country. I am honored to be your chief and share in your shock and grief about those officers in Dallas. Know that I support you explicitly and that support will never wane. In fact, it will only be bolstered by such events.
Please stay strong and connected to each other. Assuage your families’ sensitivities and make sure they get the care, consideration and love they will surely need, as they question why you do what you do for a seemingly thankless society. Above all else, be safe and go home to them after every shift.
Chief Enoch Willard was sworn in as Manchester’s Chief of Police in July of 2015. He has spent more than 30 years in law enforcement and is a member of the National League of Cities -NACo Opioid Task Force.