The beginning of 2016 has been a particularly deadly time for police officers. After an exceptionally bad week in February, letters to the President were drafted both by the Fraternal Order of Police and by Jim DeWees, Sheriff of Carroll County, Maryland.
The Fraternal Order of Police renewed a request to the federal government to have crimes against law enforcement officers reclassified as hate crimes. Chuck Canterbury, FOP National President, pointed out that many officers were targeted because of their occupations:
"Officer Thomas W. Cottrell, Jr. of the Danville Police Department in Ohio was shot and killed in an ambush attack by a man who told his ex-girlfriend that he intended to kill a law enforcement officer.
Officer Jason Moszer, of the Fargo Police Department in North Dakota, responded to a domestic disturbance call. A man, armed with multiple long guns, called dispatchers after barricading himself inside of his home and told them that he was going to shoot at officers. He shot and killed Officer Moszer from his barricade."
Canterbury concluded the letter with the following statement:
The great Irish statesman Edmund Burke wrote, 'The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing.' Too many good men are doing nothing, and saying nothing, in defense of us, the defenders.
As a result, we now have the crisis of this nationwide trend of violence against police officers. We need your help to solve it."
The letter posted by Carroll County Sheriff Jim DeWees took a slightly more exasperated tone:
The full text of DeWees' letter:
"Dear President Obama:
In case you haven’t heard, eight American police officers over the past eight days have been killed in the line of duty. Two of these police officers were Harford County Sheriff’s Deputies that were gunned down at a Panera Restaurant just 50 miles from where you live.
I’ve watched and listened intently for words of encouragement and sorrow to come from you, but haven’t heard or seen anything.
Conversely, just two weeks ago my governor, Larry Hogan, spent the better part of a week placing a call each day to one of my deputies that was involved in a severe traffic collision in Carroll County. He wasn’t satisfied with speaking to me in order to send his prayers and regards; he called every day after the collision until he spoke with my deputy’s wife.
Governor Hogan also drove to Harford County the day after two deputies were slain to meet Sheriff Gahler and the men & women of his office to grieve with them. The governor is in the middle of the 2016 Legislative Session and is pretty busy, yet found time to call, visit and pay his respects to me & my deputy, and the men & women of the Harford County Sheriff’s Office.
I understand that you are a busy man and are being pulled in multiple directions every day of the week. But, when my president doesn’t take the time to openly recognize the sacrifices that brave men & women of law enforcement make each day to keep domestic peace, I’m disappointed!
I suspect that if these same deputies walked in to a restaurant, and without provocation shot and killed an innocent man, you and your staff would quickly whisk their family away to Washington for a future speech to make an example of police officers nationwide.
For me Mr. President, it has nothing to do with Republican or Democrat; black or white, male or female; but, it has everything to do with leading or following.
I’m not shocked that you haven’t openly reached out or acknowledged publically the recent rash of deaths in law enforcement, but I’m tremendously disappointed!
Mr. President, your silence about these events SPEAKS VOLUMES!!!!
PS: I'll be standing outside in the cold next week with my deputies for the funerals of the Harford Co deputies; I'll save you a spot next to me!
James T. DeWees
Carroll County Maryland
DeWees' post came on the heels of the shooting at a “gun-free” Panera restaurant that left two nearby Harford County deputies dead.