Andrew Mills - Chief of Police - Santa Cruz

Joe Biden is our President, and Kamala Harris our Vice President. Americans elected them with a record voter turnout. I want the Biden/Harris team to be successful and will do everything within my power to honor their office and help them bring success, just as I did with President Trump. We can disagree with our elected officials, but its in our best interest for them to succeed.

After voting and throughout the past year, Americans exercised their constitutional right to protest. SCPD demonstrated its support for each person’s right to address the government with their grievances. However, SCPD cannot, and will not, tolerate violence or insurrection. What happened in the Halls of Congress was an act of terror, attacking the very seat of our Democracy.

The violence at the Capitol was heartbreaking. It was especially distressing to learn some members of LE participated in riots where a cop was murdered. They should be prosecuted fully. The uniformed men and women of law enforcement often take the brunt of people’s anger directed at the government. Santa Cruz, we can respond with sarcasm, anger, vitriol, and violence, or we can choose civility. I choose civility. I want SCPD to be a force for good.

There are four choices we must make to be a force for good. I implore you to join SCPD.

We can choose civility. Civility toward our fellow countrymen and women is the byproduct of a healthy society. You and I can make a conscious decision to follow the example of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Gandhi. Part of civility is possessing the ability to discuss important topics without going nuclear. Even when we feel strongly about a matter, we can discuss these topics passionately but with the perspective that this is my neighbor, brother, sister, and fellow Santa Cruzan. Threatening and attacking people through social media is the opposite of the civility and is only intended to create discord.

We must confront evil. Those on the fringe who speak hate or extremism, be it from the right or left, must be challenged. Yes, it takes courage. Doesn’t it always take courage and personal risk to take a stand? Not too long ago, I read a student at Baylor University was pushed and called the N-word. More than 300 students showed up to walk her to her class, as they locked arms and sang “Amazing Grace” in a demonstration of unity. Other students confronted the aggressor, telling him racism was unacceptable at Baylor. These Baylor students were a powerful demonstration of how to confront evil.

In Louisville, Kentucky, a protest turned violent and trapped an isolated police officer. Violence toward the officer was imminent. To prevent an attack on the officer, a group of black men, who were there to protest Breonna Taylor’s killing, taught civility by linking arms and shielding the officer from harm. You and I must stand united against racism, sexism, and anarchist extremism. These ideologies have no place in a civil society-our society. America faces surging extremism. White Supremacy and Nationalism threatens the very core of our nation and must be confronted like ISIS.

We can invite the excluded to our table. Many have been unwelcome at the table of prosperity. We can consciously decide to be inclusive. Equity is not a weak and sappy emotion based on pity, but it is founded on strength. The inclusion of others must be tangible and substantive, consciously including others in decision-making. Inclusion is not granting them a seat at the table but ensuring they own part of the table.
Equity employs the strength of our perspectives to unify and enhance the fabric of this community.

We must learn to be honest with one another. Honesty and dispassionate directness is a demanding standard to achieve. Some people take cheap shots at one another, using destructive language to those merely expressing their opinion. Others cannot handle even small amounts of intense debate and consequently melt. Our community cannot get past this current schism until we choose to speak openly, honestly, and directly to one another. We must not only talk but, more importantly, listen and try to understand other points of view.

Santa Cruz, evaluate an argument for a policy on the quality of the idea and the impact of its outcome. We can be direct and passionate, yet humble enough to listen intently.

Civility will help heal our city, county, and nation. We can become a force for good and not evil. The choice is ours, Santa Cruz. Can we be civil, confront evil, practice inclusivity, and speak honestly? The unity and livability of our community depends on our choice to be civil.

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