The Mission – Why we do what we do
Good evening all. I have worked part of or most of the weekend around Monday’s West Indian Day Carnival, on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, most of my 37 years in the NYPD. 11 of those years I was responsible for that huge event and everything leading up to it in the previous weeks. As Monday approaches I have been thinking how as much as I loved that event, this year I have no professional responsibilities policing it, and honestly, it is quite a relief. Then coincidentally, attending the funeral of a dear friend on Empire Boulevard tonight, I wind up right there. Of course, I had a wonderful chat with four of New York’s Finest, amazing officers, Keon, Tiffany, Alex and Darren. During our half hour chat there were several exchanges with people in the community who clearly love their cops. Just as the five of us were discussing how in every community, especially the ones with the greatest crime challenges, people love them, we hear, “F..k the police!” We look across the street and see two guys on bikes peddling by. They looked like professional bike riders, with all of the gear, probably heading to Prospect Park. The guy who yelled that out didn’t even turn and look. It appeared that is something he does whenever he passes cops. What was the response of these four great cops? Alex just said, “That’s just one.” Good for you Alex. You are right Alex. That’s just one.
Here is what I left them with. People – individuals or groups – may take away their support, their gratitude, their respect for us, but always remember, that is not why we serve. We do not serve for the thank you. We serve because it comes from someplace deep inside of us, someplace righteous, noble. It comes from knowing that the world is not here for us, rather we are here for the world. That is why we do what we do. Always remember why we do what we do. And remember this – no one can take that away from us. The only way we lose that is when we forget it, and choose to focus on the latest headline, the latest blunder by a politician or a government body, the latest editorial that is critical of law enforcement. Always remember why we do what we do. That is our greatest motivator, our greatest power, our inspiration.
And to that guy on the bike, I hope you can release the anger you carry that compels you to yell such profanity out to four of our city‘s Finest, young men and women you don’t even know. For what it’s worth, know that it motivated the five of us even more tonight. To Tiffany, Alex, Darren and Keon, and all of our sisters and brothers protecting us, stay safe, stay inspired. Continue to protect us, protect each other and protect yourselves. What you do truly matters.