Finding meaning from a senseless killing

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On Monday, eight local community leaders and I met to talk about the senseless killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Some shared concerns that as legitimate protests draw to an end, criminals are hijacking the protests with violence and looting. We also discussed the need for law enforcement to police their own. San Bernardino County Assistant Sheriff Lana Tomlin participated in the roundtable and highlighted a number of innovative policies that our Sheriff’s Department has undertaken in recent years. Our Sheriff’s Department has established policies and procedures that require Deputies to step in, stop and report cases of excessive force. Personnel challenges exist in every organization and law enforcement training in California is different than the rest of the country. Our San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department has implemented effective procedures to ensure those who serve on our force uphold the ideals and values as they have sworn to do serving our County.

We also talked about the value in educating youth in what it is like to be in law enforcement. And the value in educating law enforcement in what it’s like to be a young African American. We talked about the voices of hate that receive undue attention in the media – and how local voices of righteousness are sorely needed, especially on social media.

But our meeting wasn’t just talk.

Since we met on June 1, I am happy to report that Assistant Sheriff Tomlin has already brought forward some of the suggestions made by the community leaders, including recruitment of people of color to serve the High Desert; transparent communication and policy/legislation to ensure police accountability. Stephanie Pazarin of R.O.O.T. (Revive Our Old Town) has followed up with the community leaders who attended the meeting to continue working together in the short- and long term.

And Pastor Paul Earle of Life Impact Church in Victorville coordinated youth interviews with Sheriff McMahon and myself.  You can view the interviews by clicking here.

What happened in Minneapolis is an outrage, and the wheels of justice are moving. I support the good work, the hard work and the very dangerous work that the men and women of our San Bernardino County Sheriff’s do 24 hours a day, every week, every year.

I hope you will join me in praying for George Floyd’s family, the men and women of law enforcement and our great Country.