As the Chief of Police for the City of Stillwater, I am reaching out to our citizens to express my sadness and frustration with the events surrounding the death of George Floyd, and the rioting, looting and civil unrest that has taken place since Mr. Floyd’s death.
Police officers take an oath to protect and serve. For those unfamiliar with the oath, I included a portion of the oath that every officer swears to uphold.
“I … do solemnly swear (or affirm) that as a law enforcement officer, I will support, obey and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States and the Constitution and laws of the state of Oklahoma.
I will discharge the duties of my office to serve mankind, safeguard lives and property and protect the constitutional rights of all people.
I shall be exemplary in obeying and enforcing the laws and regulations of my department. I will never allow personal feelings, prejudices, animosities or friendships to influence my decisions.”
Usually, I am reluctant to criticize the actions of police officers based on snips of videos from onlookers and incomplete stories, but this is a much different case. The video evidence from Mr. Floyd’s death is appalling, painful to watch, and goes against the very reason that we, the police, exist.
Sir Robert Peel, considered the father of policing, developed guiding principles for the police in 1829. One of those guiding principles is to recognize that police effectiveness is directly related to public trust.
The Stillwater Police Department has a long history of serving our community with respect, integrity, and equality. As a result, the public has shown enormous support, and trust that our officers and leaders will uphold the law in a fair and equitable manner.