Our Role in the State Has Never Been More Important

BY JOHN H. “JJ” JONES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, UTAH HIGHWAY PATROL ASSOCIATION

Today’s attack on law and order “makes everyone less safe,” as Author Heather Mac Donald states in her recently published book, The War on Cops. See the review on Page 82. Also, in this issue is an article by the same author entitled “The Danger of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ Movement,” pages 20 – 26. One of the unfortunate outcomes of this movement, anti-police demonstrations and actual and intentional police killings is that police officers are backing off from proactive policing. Tragically, then, violent crime is on the rise. We, the association leaders and members, therefore, have a unique challenge and an opportunity to counter this “attack on law and order” and influence public safety policy in a constructive and positive way.

By putting our resources together, we, the association members within the Department of Public Safety, must renew our efforts to have the Utah Highway Patrol Association be recognized not only for its unique role in public safety but also for its expertise in traffic safety. We must show humane compassion for helping others in need of protection and, most importantly, in this time of the “anti-police movement,” we must advance the quality of life for our members throughout the state.

In January, a new State Legislature, U.S. Congress and Executive Administration will take office. We wish them success in doing what is right and just for us citizens. We certainly hope that they will view our association and all public safety associations across the United States as ready partners in the development of effective public safety policy, particularly as it relates to the advancement of public safety for citizens of Utah. Throughout its history, the Utah Highway Patrol Association has a sterling record in providing public safety to Utah’s Communities. Our association’s role in the state to maintain this record has never been more important.

Now more than ever, the dangers of law enforcement are many. Being in harm’s way as police officers in today’s “antipolice” environment has never been more challenging. We police officers need public understanding, transparency to the public about what we do and support from our communities. Mutual, courteous and respectful support in both directions will result in our communities becoming the safe havens we desire.

Clearly, our police officers throughout the state are facing horrendous risks while serving and protecting our communities. It is time for all elected officials, the media and law-abiding citizens to stand in solidarity with our law enforcement officers. It is time to confront and condemn those who are directing hate and violence toward police officers.

Already this year we have witnessed the tragic loss of three outstanding Utah law enforcement officers. We have grieved with their families. Let us be proud of them and their public safety services to our communities. Let us appreciate their dedication and the ultimate sacrifice of their lives to the communities they served. Most importantly, let us never forget their caring character to protect life and their passion for helping others. Let us remember especially the lessons they left us about why they served.

Always in our prayers and thoughts will they be remembered as “those who gave all.”

BE AWARE. BE ALERT. BE SAFE.