Dallas Police Chief David Brown shared some very personal thoughts during a Monday news conference as he updated the media on the Thursday night attack.
“We’re asking cops to do too much in this country,” he said. “We are. You’re asking us to do too much. Every societal failure, we put it off on the cops to solve. Not enough mental health funding, let the cop handle it. Not enough drug addiction funding, let’s give it to the cops. Here in Dallas we got a loose dog problem. Let’s have the cops chase loose dogs. Schools fail, give it to the cops. Seventy percent of the African-American community is being raised by single women. Let’s give it to the cops to solve that as well.”
Since last week’s events – the police killings of two African American men, Philando Castile in Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Louisiana, and the murder of five Dallas police officers – the nation has been doing a lot of soul-searching.
There’s still a lot of unrest, to be sure, but one can see a renewed spirit of sensitivity. You can see it in residents lining up to hug and thank Dallas police, or when Black Lives Matter protestors and counter-protestors came together to hug and pray.
From various pockets around the country, folks are asking, “Where do we go from here?”
I have three suggestions.
1. Take responsibility
Chief Brown pointed out that the police can’t take care of all of our problems. And I’ll add this: Neither can pastors or teachers.
So let’s take responsibility for our own neighborhoods and communities. Our lives are busy, I get it – but can’t we take small steps to recapture that sense of civic responsibility we once had?
I’m reminded of what Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas recently explained: good neighbors make a good neighborhood. A good city, state and country require good citizens. Benefits require responsibility. In short, liberty requires virtue – so virtue must make a comeback.
2. Get involved
During the news conference, Chief Brown encouraged protesters to get involved in other ways, too. “Don’t be a part of the problem. We’re hiring,” he said. “Get out of the protest line and put an application in. We’ll put you in your neighborhood.”
While not all of us may have what it takes to wear the blue uniform, we can all contribute in some way.
For example, last month Focus partnered with a local organization to help protect Colorado Springs police officers physically and spiritually. Shield 616 equips officers with body armor that can protect them from a rifle shot. But at $1,000 per armor package, the price may be too steep for some departments. That’s why Focus on the Family committed to donating armors for ten local police officers.
Have you seen the photo of four young children praying with police officers in the mountain town of Cripple Creek, Colorado?
Doing is great – but we also need to pray. Like I wrote last week, the root problem is sin. So while we work to erode the societal problems that contribute to racism and hatred, we’re kidding ourselves if we don’t recognize that only Jesus Christ can deliver us from sin, transform hearts, and help us overcome past offenses, hurts and prejudices.
So pray. Pray for our country. Pray for God’s mercy and grace to reach the darkest corners of our cities and hearts. Pray that God would unleash a holy boldness in His people so we would share the Gospel and His love.
After all, like Chief Brown said during yesterday’s news conference, “I believe that I’m able to stand here and discuss this with you is a testament to God’s grace and His sweet, tender mercies.”
And isn’t that true for all of us?
I’d like to hear from you: What do you think of Chief Brown’s statement that we’re asking too much of our police officers? What do you think everyday people can do to help? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.