From the leadership of the SC Department of Public Safety
An open letter to the communities we serve:
The SC Department of Public Safety encourages and seeks open dialogue with the communities we serve. We acknowledge that this is a deeply painful time in our country following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota and the resulting civil disturbances in our state and nation. As the largest law enforcement agency in the State of South Carolina, we want our position to be clear on this matter. There is no place within a law enforcement organization for the use of excessive force, any type of discrimination, or divisiveness created by hateful speech. We believe that we must work earnestly together to seek solutions with our community partners as we endeavor to build a brighter future for our state. As we do this, we believe that we – the citizens of South Carolina -- agree more than we disagree on these points and we seek to come together to respectfully work toward solutions:
We agree that law enforcement plays a vital role in ensuring the protection and safety of our nation’s citizens so that they are free to “pursue life, liberty and happiness” – our fundamental rights as Americans.
We agree that law enforcement officers are held to a higher standard and enjoy a position of public trust.
We agree that there is no place in a law enforcement organization for the use of excessive force or misappropriating a police officer’s power or position for gain;
We agree that some law enforcement officers have abused the power entrusted to them and -- as a result -- harmed those they were sworn to protect.
We agree that the acts of some officers have bred animosity between those who wear the badge and citizens of our communities -- particularly the African-American community.
We agree that the police are here for EVERYONE’S protection -- from those who are peaceably assembled to exercise their right to free speech to the small business owner who needs protection from those who are not seeking peace but bent on acts of violence.
We agree that law enforcement should receive the best training -- and must at all times -- adhere to that training in the course of their duties.
We agree that when law enforcement officers abuse their power, we -- as law enforcement leaders -- will take swift and appropriate action in the spirit of transparency.
We agree that we must address these long-held issues community-by-community and with every public contact we make – beginning with our interactions with children and youth.
We agree that we cannot heal until we come to the table -- together -- and seek these mutually acceptable solutions toward forward progress.