by Sarina Jade, SRV Chief of Police
Recently I've noticed posters going up around town that have nothing to do with the upcoming mayor races. One poster stated "So many behind the badge should be behind bars." The other poster insinuated that cops were murderers depending on if they were in Southside or Northside. I don't know who is putting up the posters nor am I asking for help from the public. I am writing to speak on behalf of my overworked, under-appreciated, and under valued Police Force.
These officers day by day put their lives on the line for the good of the city. During the recent rains, SRPD along with the SRFD and hospital worked 24/7 in helping citizens prepare for the storm and then when we were flooded they were wading through flood waters trying to help citizens. In the last week alone, three officers were sent to the hospital with injuries resulting from being attacked in the line of duty.
There is a criminal element in Southside that is actively working to intimidate and humiliate the dedicated officers of SRPD. Recent Graffiti on the PD wall told us to stay out of Southside. During the flooding we had criminals shooting at us as we tried to evacuate Southside. Last week someone left a gutted pig in our lobby as a warning to us to stay away. Or else.
I don't put up with corruption in my department. Every complaint that has been brought to my attention has been referred to Internal Affairs. Every. Complaint. Those officers found to have violated code of ethics have been punished. Some have even quit rather than face an IA investigation. We have received some unsubstantiated complaints. To those that think the officers of SRPD are dishonest, criminals and thugs...I say to you...bring me your proof. Putting up posters with snide innuendos makes you a coward that prefers to hide in the shadows and stir up controversy rather than help to fix this perceived problem.
34% of police officers suffer from Post Traumatic Stress disorder or depression. Suicide rates among police officers are five times higher than the national average. Most officers report having to use alcohol as a way to relieve stress or even just to sleep at night. These are just some of the statistics that should cause concern in our community. This community continues to push their officers to the breaking point and yet they still show up to work every day, putting their lives on the line for a community that allows criminals to call the shots.
When will it end? Will it take the police force going on strike to wake this city up to the dangers that lurk in Southside?