Cecil Solidarity is aware of the “Back the Blue” rally that is occurring this Saturday, July 25. Given that this phrase is often used to counter the narrative of social and racial justice that Cecil Solidarity is actively fighting for in our county, we wanted a moment to explain what supporting law enforcement truly means beyond just using a slogan.
“Back the Blue” as it currently stands means that some in our community are okay with law enforcement officers having twice the divorce rates as the national average. It means that some in our community are okay with our police officers having higher rates of PTSD diagnoses, higher rates of substance abuse disorders, and higher rates of suicide when compared to the general public. Merely stating that you “Back the Blue” and holding rallies is not sufficient; our policing community needs our voices to fight for changes that will result in improvement in their employment and quality of life.
As such, Cecil Solidarity believes that to truly support our law enforcement agencies is not to just accept things as the way they are but, instead, to push for the needed reforms that will make sure law enforcement officers have every possible tool to be successful. This will also ensure that all members of our community feel safe and feel they can trust those who are there to serve and protect them.
Basic measures such as creating civilian advisory boards to increase trust with the public and ensure security of good officers, banning chokeholds, requiring body cameras, partnering with social workers to address the mental health needs of the community, and providing consistent and required stress assessments and supports would increase our policing community’s ability to do their job with a decreased risk for escalation or harm to anyone. These measures would provide a benefit to both the community at large as well as our law enforcement agencies.
In summary, Cecil Solidarity wants to recognize the difficult job that the policing community undertakes every day. Our goal is to work in solidarity with them to create a trust with the public, a positive policing culture, and a better community overall. We are more than just slogans and phrases; we are about making real changes for every member of the community, including our first responders.