Editor’s note: The following message to the community was posted May 31 by Matthew McCormack, Chief of Police, of the Milford Borough Police Department:
The Milford Police Department extends its condolences to the family of George Floyd and the Minneapolis community. We stand in solidarity with those across the world who are outraged by what they saw on the video footage of Mr. Floyd’ s arrest and death.
Most of us in law enforcement view our profession as an extended family. We feel a kinship with others who put on the uniform to protect their community. We know that police are easy targets for blame, that the media doesn’t always get it right and that accusation does not equal truth. When accusations of police brutality or a wrongful death arise, we tend to reflexively support the officer or stay silent.
But we can no longer sit by silently when brutality by a police officer takes a life, inflicts profound pain on black and brown communities, perpetuates systemic oppression, sows distrust of law enforcement, and exacerbates the divisions in our society.
To meet our commitment to serve our community to the best of ability, and to help restore trust in law enforcement, we believe it is important that we speak up. We encourage other law enforcement agencies to join us, as well as the police departments in New Haven, CT, Chattanooga, TN, and elsewhere to do the same.
We also want our Milford community to understand and support our department’s “community-based policing” philosophy, which focuses on building ties and working closely with members of the communities we serve.
That includes being physically present and accessible to the public on a routine, non-enforcement basis, through pedestrian and bicycle patrols, as well as behind a desk or wheel. It is reflected in our attitude, which is to lead with friendliness and show respect to the citizens we serve in every circumstance. Our officers are members of the community, not just “armed patrol personnel.”
When we deal with a contentious or volatile arrest situation, our policy and training directs us to first attempt de-escalation. If force becomes necessary, our goal is to use the minimum force required to address the situation.
We are not perfect, to be sure. But we want Milford to know that when we see videos like the one from Minnesota, we cringe as well. Not just in pain for the family, but also in pain for how this reflects on our profession, how it creates mistrust in the community, especially in communities of color.
We are fortunate to work with some of the finest men and women we know; we can’t imagine any member of the Milford Police Department standing by while another person, police officer or not, committed the crime so clearly seen in the video from Minnesota.
Our heart goes out to the family and friends of George Floyd and to black and brown Americans who have had to live in fear of police, rather than relying on us with trust and confidence. We pray for an end to the violence, peace in our communities and restoring trust in law enforcement.
Matthew McCormack, Chief of Police
Milford Borough Police Department
“To serve and protect with integrity”