Letter: 'Meet the police' article was tone deaf

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To the Editor:I am sure I am not the first, nor will I be the last, to reach out to you regarding the tone deafness that your article "Meet your Manchester Police Department" (Journal, June 5) presents.While I'm sure it was well intended, your article attempts to highlight a police department as a group of hardworking and overall good men in a town that is 97 percent white. That fact alone undoes anything positive your article may have to say about any of them in a time when we are identifying the underlying systematic oppression of black people in this nation by the police force.It is impossible to identify that if a 911 call came in about a black man, a Manchester police officer wouldn't use deadly force against him because he may never have had this opportunity in his career.And I am going to point out my use of "black man" here, because police violence and brutality disproportionately affects BLACK people in this country. Not people of color, as your article suggests.In these times, language becomes of the utmost importance. People of color is a great term for addressing minorities in a respectful manner, but black is the most appropriate term for addressing black people who live in the United States. While it is great that all our officers have basic live support skills and know how to use Narcan, that is simply what is expected of them and your article sets a tone that they should all receive a medal because they are capable of doing their job. I work as an EMT, so I know that police are often first on scene to these calls, and if I showed up to someone in cardiac arrest and the police officer hadn't already been doing compressions they wouldn't have been doing their job. The goal here is not to reward officers for doing what is expected of them, it is to take a step back and recognize that the entire police force was designed to police black people in our nation, and that implicit bias still exists among us and is coming out in the form of police brutality.No one ever attacked the Manchester Police Department for hurting anyone black, because they have really never been given the chance to, and your article simply comes off as defensive and clearly missing the mark. You have a platform and a responsibility to educate a 97 percent white town about the injustice that is occuring all across this nation, and you have chosen to take up space educating me about how Sgt. James Blanchard enjoys skiing and home renovation in his free time.Just because you have the ability to write whatever you want, doesn't always mean you should. Preston Stachelek,Stratton



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