Open letter from Manchester Police Chief Willard to his officers

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MPD policeJuly 8, 2016

Officers/Supervisors:

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.

God Bless.

Chief Willard


Chief Willard

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.

About Carol Robidoux 5217 Articles
Journalist and editor of ManchesterInkLink.com, a hyperlocal news and information site for Manchester, NH.
  • Jack Hynds

    The people of Manchester are behind you. We know well what a superior police force we have, and feel fortunate for that. There are wonderful examples of hardworking and caring individuals throughout this department and I am proud to be a resident of Manchester in part because of that.

  • Manchester Resident

    This is disappointing. The concern for officers’ safety is definitely appreciated, but the tone of blame towards the White House is politically charged and inappropriate. Where is the Chief’s condolences for the young black men killed and promise to do better in Manchester? Where is his commitment to deescalation tactics and reduction of cultural bias amongst the force? Let’s address that there were two sets of people hurting in these past few day and try to do better here in NH.

    • mark

      This administration has been pushing racism at every turn possible..Before the investigation in Ferguson was even started Obama came out against the police and told the protesters to keep up the good work.. (looting and burning businesses) The eye witnesses LIED and the protests were wrong..The officer was in the right… This president does nothing good for our country or its citizens..

  • Blackcross7

    A class act as always.

  • KeithinBrookline

    I am saddened and more than a little angry to see that the police chief in Manchester has joined those trying to politicize the tragedy in Dallas.
    His direct criticism of the President and his indirect criticism of Black Lives Matters are unfortunate and unfounded. Protesting and demanding that illegal behavior on the part of police be punished does not put honest officers in danger. In fact, the opposite is true. Finding excuses and blaming the victims tarnishes all police officers.
    We can support our brave police officers while demanding that rogue officers be held accountable for illegal behavior.

    • hwy505

      You’re not a very bright one.

      • LL

        definitely not the sharpest tool in the shed.

    • Jim

      “Protesting and demanding that illegal behavior on the part of police be punished does not put honest officers in danger.” Tell that to the families of the 5 officers killed in Dallas, you moron.

      • Granny

        Can you not express an opinion without calling people names?

      • bolehboleh

        Jim – your response is an example of everything that is wrong with discourse in this country.
        1. First, you called someone with whom in disagreed a “moron.” That does not help advance the conversation in any way. You could certainly disagree with the original poster in a more productive manner.
        2. You seem to be implying that protesting an injustice (perceived or otherwise) should not be tolerated because somebody might commit violence. If that’s the case, we might as well eliminate the first amendment from the Bill of Rights. Remember, the first amendment protects Black Lives Matter, the Draw a Mohammed Cartoon contestants, the KKK, you and me.

      • K Patrick Meehan

        Why go ad hominem….back up your statements with fact sir…..

      • Richard Santomauro

        I totally agree with your comments to Jim about him calling people morons. However, protesting law enforcement actions before the full completion of an investigation is something that I do not agree with. If you want to protest police brutality in general – fine. Protesting does not include the infringement on other people’s rights to free passage on our roads or highways and it certainly does not include assault on anyone including our law enforcement. The truth is that we have an organization like BLM and the Black Panthers who incite hate and send evil people to these protests in order to inflame and incite more violence. Why hasn’t the Black Panther Party been designated as a terrorist organization and outlawed in America? Why haven’t those in the BLM who incite violence been charged with terrorist threatening?

      • mark

        Oh you mean like democrat and liberal politicians do?You know the ones you support…

    • Shannon Laramie

      Obama is responsible for not only putting targets on the backs of officers but the increase in black on white crimes happening accross the country. You obviously know little of what really has transpired and how the decisions and comments our president has made are responsible for the unwarranted violence. It doesnt surprise me you are angry and sad. Im saddened that so many people are as ignorant as you are.

    • PatG

      What “illegal behavior on the part of the police” are you talking about? In just about every one of these cases where a black man was killed, it was a direct result of him NOT following the lawful orders of an officer.

    • Granny

      I agree. I have great respect for Chief Willard I think he’s doing a great job. I don’t have a problem with him getting into the Political realm….he has the same rights we all have I just disagree with his comments about the President.

    • Faith Cuilla

      If you would follow the events as they unfold and throughout the investigations course you may be singing a different tune. The media plays such a large role in the publics perception of LE. Each and every day hundreds of thousand men and woman patrol the streets and risk their lives to protect the communities they serve. When tragedy happens the media feeds into a crazy notion that LE are looking to shoot black americans. Most LE never draw their weapon throughout their careers, and those that do have to make split second decisions and have to live with that decision and their consequences. I am sure there are some bad LE as in all professions. I watched 20/20 the other night and part of the segment was now black mothers must now talk to their children how to deal with LE if they happen to be approached. REALLY Why does the media feed on this. I thought when LE approaches you show respect and follow what they ask of you. I thought that to my children at a very young age. Violence is not the answer, for a civilian to take lives due to something that happened in the country is ludicrous. My heart bleeds for all those killed LE and civilian’s alike. This country needs to stop the violence not pick up guns and shoot those that have nothing to do with actions of others. This country is being divided by race and it is our duty to try and stop that and remember that all lives matter not just one race but all. And yes,this trickles down from the Oval Office to the citizens of this great country. The President has a direct impact in what happens in the communities and his speeches at time fuel the fire in communities instead of helping the LE maintain peace he allows his personal bias in his speeches which affect many. I thank God of LE. I wish that America would wake up and look at the entire picture.

      • K Patrick Meehan

        I don’t for a minute believe that LE is out to kill anybody. That said I do believe they make mistakes and when they make mistakes too often they’re deadly. Those mistakes need to be not only investigated but prosecuted if necessary. I don’t believe that every shooting is unjust, but I do believe some are. Regarding the Presidential response, we should listen to everything he says, I suspect most did not hear his comments during his presser in Poland. If you didn’t please read the transcript, it is quite enlightening…..

        • Richard Santomauro

          They do make mistakes,but before people rush out in anger to protest they should wait for the investigation to be completed and made public. Protest? Okay. Protest in anger over a specific event before the investigation is complete? No way. The media hypes this stuff for ratings. It is sickening.

        • Dale Fifield

          Obama has turned out to be the Greatest devider of people to ever hold the highest office in the United States. What a shame and disgrace he has been and is for everything our country stands for.

    • KeithinBrookline

      “In just about every case…” So, you acknowledge that there are cases where the actions of police were not justified or legal.
      That’s the point. Abuse under the color of authority is illegal, and is rightfully condemned and protested.

      • PatG

        I’ll acknowledge that Walter Scott should not have been shot in the back for trying to run away from being arrested if you acknowledge that he should not have run in the first place. I’ll acknowledge that Eric Garder should not have been put in a choke hold if you acknowledge that he should not have been resisting arrest and his actions led to police having to use force (albeit excessive and illegal) on him. And you should also acknowledge that Michael Brown, who had just committed a robbery, was NOT raising his hands but rather was threatening and approaching the police officer who used deadly force to protect himself after Brown struggled for the officer’s gun through the police car window.

        Nobody disagrees that police should not abuse their authority. But the cases in the news are being misrepresented and the facts are not being reported accurately and completely.

      • Richard Santomauro

        Protesting clear and confirmed cases of abuse after the completion of an investigation? Sure, that makes perfect sense. Inflaming the passions of people beforehand like this President has done? That’s not leadership. That’s not good governing. That is disrespectful of our laws, disrespectful of our law enforcement and disrespectful to the citizens, all citizens.

        • Matthew Genack

          Richard, the problem with your position is that the public has a very short attention span, and investigatory entities have a habit of taking their time. Do you seriously expect there to be much in the way of calls for systemic changes when it’s *quietly* announced, months or years later, than a given cop was in fact in the wrong?

          • Gary Brown

            So lets burn down a town block a highway or shoot a cop.

          • Matthew Genack

            Strawman. I do think that these incidents should be used – while they’re fresh in people’s minds – to persuade them that the system is horribly flawed.

          • Gary Brown

            Except for the guy in NYC (I believe his health habits killed him) every case including the two last week were thugs with long rap sheets. The armed robbery suspect shot in the car with the gun on his lap caused the killing and shooting of Police officers over the week end. So I think it is better to get the facts before you start to burn, loot and shoot. You telling me that the looting and burning in Ferguson and Baltimore didn’t happen. The blocking of highways didn’t happen? You think this civil disobedience is OK? Straw-man my ass. You block my car on a highway I will run you over. You try to loot or burn my property or town I will end you and your coward friends. So bring it on and God Bless the Police Department. You don’t want to get shot by them obey there commands. It is not rocket science. We are a country of laws if you don’t want to obey them it is at your own peril.

          • Matthew Genack

            Do you even know what a strawman is? It’s when one party (in this case, you) misrepresents the other party’s position, and then argues against it. You’re attributing a lot of things to me. Why do you conflate holding signs, talking to one’s friends, and posting online (things that a lot of activists have been doing) with arson, blocking traffic, and ambush shootings?

            “The armed robbery suspect shot in the car with the gun on his lap caused the killing and shooting of Police officers over the week end. ”

            If you happen to look like an armed robbery suspect, and you have a CCW, it’s okay for a cop to shoot you when you reach for your identification AFTER HE TELLS YOU TO GIVE HIM IDENTIFICATION?

            “You don’t want to get shot by them obey there [sic] commands.”

            If a cop orders a woman to have sex with her, she should comply?!

            Newsflash: Cops aren’t dictators. They’re civil servants. Do you understand the difference?

          • Gary Brown

            Strawman is the false argument, WOW. Your response is a strawman because you picked pieces of my responce to make a phoney premise. You left out the gun on his lap part to create you strawman premise. If you get pulled over you take your license and registration along with your gun permit out of your pocket or where ever it may be and put it on the dashboard. Then you put your hands on the steering wheel with your fingers extended. When the cop asks you for your identification you tell the cop it is on the dash and you are reaching for it. When you give it to the cop he will SEE the permit. You then say I am wearing it how do you want me to proceed. You don’t say hey I have a gun and then have it on your lap. That thug getting shot is proof to my statement being true. Stop being a child it is lawful commands so your Strawman argument about sex is a retarded statement. If you can’t follow simple rules then don’t get pulled over, don’t carry a gun and certainly under any circumstance pull an armed robbery. As for the protesting that’s your right but don’t protest violence with violence nor support those who do. In my opinion since you support that kind of protest you are like them so what I said is not a strawman. So nice try.

          • Matthew Genack

            Clearly articulate why cops get to summarily execute innocent people for not having their hands in the right places and in the right orientations when a cop is present, while CCW holders are held to a much more stringent standard. The latter can’t just shoot random, innocent people on the street for having their hands in the pockets on a cold day, or for “scaring” them, or whatever other ridiculous excuse (and it’s good that they can’t do so, and bad that cops can do so).

            If your position is that cops get to kill non-cops if they *perceive* the minutest chance that the non-cop in question MIGHT attack, then you don’t value non-cop lives very much, regardless of what you claim. If, on the other hand, non-cop lives are as valuable to you as cop lives are, the only logical position to profess is that cops should be held to the same standard as CCW holders.

          • Matthew Genack

            P.S. You’ve authoritatively laid out a very detailed procedure for peasants to follow when being pulled over by one of the king’s men. Did you get this procedure from some “official” source, like a government website? If so, please provide the link. If not, then please explain what gives the procedure that you outlined the force of law.

          • Gary Brown

            Do your own work Google it. Let me guess you are a Liberal Millennial know nothing. Take a conceal carry course. I doubt a snow flake like you even understands the commitment of a Patriot.

          • Matthew Genack

            (1) I’m a libertarian. I wouldn’t be surprised if you think that that’s the same thing as “liberal” since they share two syllables and people like you are easily confused.

            (2) I was born in 1978. That makes me a member of Generation X.

            (3) I’ve taken a CCW course, and I have a permit here in NH.

            (4) I’m not a collectivist, unlike you. At least the progressives openly admit that they’re collectivists, while conservatives lie through their teeth about being individualists, despite being as collectivist as Mao or Stalin. Therefore, unlike you, I have no interest in self-glorification by placing myself in some silly collective.

            (5) Your silence on the issue of the value of cop lives vs. non-cop lives is deafening. I’ll take that as an indication that you think that non-cop lives have significantly less value than cop lives.

          • Richard Santomauro

            You missed my point. I am talking about the President of the United States showing leadership. People have the right to protest and be activists for change. They can afford to knee jerk and react immediately before facts are known. The President? Nope. I do not think that is leadership at all. That is poor leadership and is disrespectful to both his office as well as the justice system he took an oath to support.

    • Richard Santomauro

      This President, I think means well. However, he must lead all of America and its people. He should not be making statements that inflame passions before a complete investigation has been concluded. This is reckless and is not good leadership.

    • mark

      The Manchester chief is right..Just like in ferguson the President has come out on the side of the protesters.He for the first time in almost 8yrs actually tried to be respectful of the police but he really didn’t mean it.Obama also said nice words about islamists even tho they had nothing to do with this whole ordeal… The truth has come out and you need to stop blaming the officers for doing their job..

      • K Patrick Meehan

        Yep….listen and follow the ORDERS of officers or be executed!!!

    • cynic44

      I think you read a different letter, or you heavily projected your own observational biases and stereotyping on the one I just read.

    • K Patrick Meehan

      Key words being…in just about….

      • PatG

        No. Key words being “NOT following the lawful orders of an officer”.

        An isolated incident of illegal police behavior does not justify taking many other incidents of legal police behavior and lying about them to deliberately mislead the public into thinking this is a common thing when in fact it is not. Police are not targeting blacks. Cops killed nearly twice as many whites as blacks in 2015.

        http://www.dailywire.com/news/7264/5-statistics-you-need-know-about-cops-killing-aaron-bandler

    • K Patrick Meehan

      You ma’am are ignorant…..please explain to me how the President has instigated violence? Perhaps you should say what you mean….If the nigger kept his mouth shut there wouldn’t be these problems….

  • Jennifer

    God be with all of you as you try to protect our streets, our houses, and our lives. Stay strong. The good will always prevail. May God keep all of you safe as you protect us.

  • Jason Segedy

    I dont see any part of this letter to his officers as politicizing the seven gunned down officers. What part do you get that from? He reflected on his prior politicization of the lack of government support for police after a couple back-to-back Leos were killed in the line of duty. Whether you agree with that statement or not, the letter is addressing the situation that unfolded in Dallas and the public backlash of that, as well as telling his officers to be vigilant and stay safe. I hardly find that politicizing anything except that he values his officers and their lives and safety, which is very good politics for a police chief to engage in. If you are referring to past politicizations by him, then specify that Keith, but you specifically said he is politicizing the tragedy in Dallas, and I dont see that at all in this article.

  • hwy505

    Thank you chief!!!!

  • chrissusalka

    Ummmm…
    May i quote: “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”

    That is a very politically charged comment. Whether you believe it is correct or not – it’s absolutely politically polarizing.

    • It is a truthful statement, regardless of how people choose to characterize it. This is our city police Chief, who I am honored as a citizen that it is he.

  • chrissusalka

    This is about injustice. I am not, by any means excusing any violence towards police. I respect and am grateful for law enforcement officers.
    But the chief needs to address the bad cops out there and talk about launching training that prevents bad decisions within the department.
    Find out WHY people are angry and do something to change it.

  • Jenn MosAic Coffey

    Thank you Chief and all that serve, it’s hard enough to be a first responder as I was years ago, an emt. I can not imagine how any of this impacts all of you. It is awful and murder is murder and wrong. It has to stop, no more deaths please. I would like to think there is some hope for humanity.

  • Time for you to resign ASAP. What a great letter to all YOUR men and women. Too bad there was nothing in there about the community YOU and all your men and women work for. This city is far worse than it’s ever been and I blame a lot of it on you. I can say that I support law enforcement and the work that gets done for the most part. But when you are wasting my hard earned money on low level petty marijuana arrests, then you are showing your incompetence as a effective police department. Spare me the “it’s illegal” mumbo jumbo, nobody cares. Is there nothing better for your men and women to do? This city has enough scum and lowlifes to keep you busy from sun up to sun down. As long as you think you can arrest your way out this disaster of a city you will NEVER be an effective police chief. Maybe your style works in Mayberry, USA, but it doesn’t work here. STOP wasting my money.

  • smack_libs_around

    Blood on the hands on BLM-sympathizing media hacks at CNN, MSNBC, BOSTON GLOBE, NYT, etc. This ‘homegrown terrorist’ was motivated and encouraged by them, who in turn were encouraged by Obama.

  • Susan Miele

    I don’t think the White House ever eluded to hurting officers as a good thing. No one thinks officers getting hurt is a good thing, it is horrible. We do however expect and demand that if you work with officers that do not obey the law, if a police departments issues quotas and profiles Black people and does not adequately train their force in tactical training so that unarmed people might live, our government says we get to require accountability and demand the ‘good officers’ help to get rid of the others that are not upholding the law. Break the blue wall of silence. We thank you for your service

    • mark

      Maybe not but Obama has never come out on tv to tell the protests not to be violent and to wait to get the investigation results. Obama,sharpton,jackson,holder and now lynch do nothing but push racism…

  • Mike Coy

    Why may I ask , should the police chief of Manchester NH have to apologize for the actions of police in another department ( another state) for that matter ? I feel his statement is from the heart and dead on accurate !
    If the statement is viewed as “politicizing” the tragedy , then so be it , what I get is that he is trying to make sure his charges are as safe and aware of the possibly escalated dangers that they will be facing !
    He is being honest and those who wish to try to make it look political , well look to the White House Obama sympathies with the criminal element while at the same time REFUSING to acknowledge the efforts of the vast majority of LE that go on the job every day to truly PROTECT AND SERVE ………

  • Richard Santomauro

    If I were a Chief I would also take actions to bolster the safety of LE officers. I would place observers at the highest points for all protests and around Police HQ and all City government buildings. I would insure that my officers wear kevlar protection and appropriate helmets and face shields. I would put out the word that no road, highway or passageway will be allowed to be blocked by protestors/demonstrators. You have a right to protest even if you do not have all the facts of a complete investigation. But you DO NOT have the right to infringe upon the rights of others, or to their right of way. You do NOT have the right to harm others because you are upset, angry or delusional.

  • Sandi

    Wonderful job Chief Willard. I say if anyone can do any better then please join law enforcement.

  • curlercan

    I’ve been trying to help pass gun safety regulations for years to help protect our police and NH residents. Not hard to figure out this Manchester police chief. Says: No such thing as systematic racism in the police forces and it’s all Obama’s fault that people are unhappy with police. Really? No mention of bad cops behaviors or Republican/Trump/NRA preventing safety gun laws, inciting fear, hatred and racism! He should step down, he is adding fuel to the fire! I would expect this kind of comment from someone living in the South! I though New Englanders were well educated?

  • curlercan

    This chief is in denial! #factsmatter

  • curlercan

    Being in denial is not good leadership #education

  • curlercan

    White privilege or sheltered?

  • mark

    Blame the citizens that ruin your city.Not those who try to keep it safe…

  • John Tholl Jr

    Right on target chief.

  • Susan

    Everyone has an opion, that not everyone will agree with, I have read all these comments before giving my comments so lets start with the President not once have I ever heard of any racism acts from him, two as for all the Police violence that has been going on everywhere I would like to say you have honest true and loyal police who go by the law, than you have the police who breaks the laws just like any other criminal who breaks the law they should be brought to justice, PUT ALL POLICE ARE NOT BAD, so please lets get that straight as for all this violence and racist crap that has been going on non-stop for the last several months IS FROM WHAT I CAN SEE IS FROM TRUMP WHO IS ALWAYS TALKING ABOUT RACISM AND WHO HAS CAUSED RIOTS AT HIS RALLIES PUT THE BLAME WHERE IT BELONGS
    RIP TO ALL OFFICERS AND SOLIDERS WHO HAVE LOST THEIR LIVES PROTECTING AND SERVING THE UNITED STATES

  • patty donovan

    Kudos to the Chief!! He’s absolutely correct ! Obama has done nothing in the last almost 8 years but fuel racial divide, and blame the police !! Hang on, the asshole will be gone soon!

    • K Patrick Meehan

      Such respect for the office….kudos to you sir….

  • K Patrick Meehan

    See previous comments….

  • K Patrick Meehan

    Yep…the brotha in the White Hizzle isto blame!!!