(WRN): We received a respected Madison, Wisconsin police officer’s epic farewell letter to his colleagues. We are reprinting it here, although we are withholding his name and new department for his own protection.
I have made the decision to move on. I will start a new chapter at (a suburban) PD beginning in September, so you’ll know where to find me if you need me. Please trust me when I tell you that I’ll always be there, for anyone, just like I was when I was here.
The end of this chapter is bittersweet. Much like so many of you, I’ve poured my heart, soul, blood, sweat and tears into this department for 10 years. I’ve laughed so hard I’ve cried and I’ve cried so hard it hurt. It’s not been all good, but not all bad either.
The people of MPD that I’ve had the pleasure to get to know, to become close to, to help through a hard time, that have helped me through a hard time, have truly been the best part of this experience for me. Please know that you are the heart and soul of this department.
I have been witness to some of the most amazing feats of human perseverance by way of phenomenal police work. It both humbles and fills me with pride to have worked alongside those of you doing this important work.
I have deep concerns for the future of this department and its ability to retain the most valuable resource it doesn’t know it has: the experienced and proficient officers and immediate supervisors who serve the community every day by responding to calls for service. You know who you are, you are the ones who do more than just show up.
I know that you do these things while balancing the standards that you hold for yourselves with the expectations placed on you by the department and the community. You are tasked with providing a high quality of service to the community with respect, dignity and proficiency; core values of this department.
However, more often than not, those same tenets are not afforded to you. The nature of this job is that you are asked to lay your lives on the line and take significant risks that involve the assertion of lawful authority in the scope of what we have been trained and sworn to do. In the event that we must take those risks, regardless of the outcome of our mission, the potential to be put under review or offered discipline is so great that it often overshadows the risk in the first place.
Our experience, our intuition, our intention, our service, our heart is all taken out of the equation so often. Rather than being valued for the work that we do, we are treated like a liability by a chief’s office that has demonstrated that its priority is appeasing a segment of the community that does not support our mission in the first place.
This kind of ‘leadership’ does not foster or promote that same respect, dignity, empathy, and kindness that we are expected to demonstrate in our work. How can our primary focus be on serving and protecting the community, when we have to be so concerned about protecting ourselves against an administration that does not support or trust the decisions we make while taking these calculated risks. To those that have been here for a bit, you know it has not always been this way. We’ve seen the good, the bright and the promises often not kept, but that have offered hope.
So as I move down the path, please know that I’ve seen you, I’ve heard you, and I’ve stood beside you, as we’ve proudly carried on the legacy of those that came before us. Keep your heads up. Stay safe. Know that you matter. Shine your light.
-This letter was written by a Madison police officer.