Hundreds gathered on The Circle on Georgetown on Monday evening to show their support for law enforcement during a rally planned by State Sen. Brian Pettyjohn, R-Georgetown.
“It takes deep commitment by the broader community to engage with law enforcement and for law enforcement to engage back to the community,” said Pettyjohn in his opening message. “It is imperative that the narrative be changed from highlighting those isolated missteps to the broader and much harder reaching good our officers have a direct hand in every day.”
The rally of support came just three weeks after the heads of the Delaware State Troopers Association, Delaware Fraternal Order of Police and the Delaware Police Chiefs’ Council issued an open letter decrying Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jenning’s refusal to charge the “Camden 22” protesters who were arrested on Route 13 near Camden.
In their letter, the senior law enforcement representatives said they now feel “under attack not only by criminals or violent protesters but by the Attorney General herself.” They say her decision renders them incapable of doing their jobs.
Police Cheif Ken McLaughlin of Ocean View addressed Monday’s crowd and spoke about the nationwide struggle for recruting officers, especially within minority community. “It is diffcult to recruit people in these community when they are called traitors and they are ridiculed and when they are pushed away from serving law oenforcment. That hurts our entire community,” he said.
State Rep. Steve Smyk, R-Milton, a former State Trooper, spoke on legislation that has been proposed in the Delaware General Assembly.
“Deescalation is not anything new, it has been implemented for many years and we will make sure that every officer in the state of Delaware is trained where they already are,” said Smyk. “You want a civilian review board, we have that, it is called COPD. Civilian gentleman and ladies with a background that actually knows something about law enforcement that ensure that every police officer at every different level is trained at the best and latest evidentiary values they can offer today.”