By Brian Moriguchi, PPOA President: On July 7th, America witnessed the worst in humanity as five police officers were assassinated at a Black Lives Matter anti-police rally in Dallas, Texas. It is believed to be the deadliest attack on U.S. law enforcement since September 11, 2001. The tragedy of the situation hits close to home for LA County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) employees, as one of the officers killed in the attack was a former LASD law enforcement technician. Lorne Ahrens was a member of this association (PPOA) and served the sheriff’s department for 11 years before transferring to Dallas PD in 2002, where he worked his way up to Senior Corporal. He is survived by his wife (also a Dallas PD officer), a 10-year old son and an 8-year old daughter.
Shortly before this unspeakable assault by a sniper in hiding, President Obama held a press conference to address the recent fatal shootings of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota. The President quoted statistics about how minorities, in particular blacks and Hispanics, are stopped more often by police, removed from their cars more often by police and arrested more often by police, implying racial disparity by police officers. What the President didn’t say is that these statistics are true regardless of the race of the officers. Police officers of all racial backgrounds simply enforce the laws to keep the communities they serve safe. The data reflects a much larger societal issue of racial disparities and socio-economic issues that plague primarily minority communities. We ask that President Obama and other leaders choose their words carefully so as not to provoke violence against police officers.
Police officers who do wrong need to be held accountable. We support and encourage the prosecution of bad cops. It stains our profession and we are the first to stand up against bad cops. But the vast majority of police officers are honest, brave men and women who simply want to serve their communities and protect the innocent from those who prey on them. It is a difficult job but a noble one.
Our hearts go out the brave officers in Dallas who faced evil while protecting others, including those protesting against law enforcement. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the fallen officers and all the men and women who serve the public doing a job that few can do.