FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson took to Facebook to express his feelings in the wake of the murder of Harris County Deputy Darren Goforth late Friday night. Here is Anderson’s heartfelt open letter on the issue:
Like most of you I’ve spoken to or heard from, I am stunned and in shock over the murder of the Harris County Deputy. So many law enforcement leaders are trying to make sense of what is happening and where it is headed. I find it hard to make sense out of something senseless. I have prepared the following to be shared with all employees of the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office.
Needless to say it’s not like anything I have ever written to them before. But we are now in uncharted waters, and I, like many, have no idea how this all will eventually play out:
Since learning the tragic story of the murder in Harris County this weekend, I have wanted to reach out to all TCSO employees with some words of comfort or strength, but for one of the few times in my life, I sit at a keyboard struggling to even put a sentence together. This murder of a deputy sheriff is far too close to home for comfort. I, like I’m sure most of you, was stunned and almost rendered numb by the details of the killing. If I sound lost and unsure it’s because I am. I truly cannot make any sense of what is happening in this country and I am grasping for any answers for any way to end this nightmare, as we all are.
When a peace officer is murdered in cold blood, apparently at random and simply because of the uniform he wore, how does anyone make sense of that? Harris County is reeling from this senseless cowardly act, but in truth all law enforcement, across Texas and the United States has been hit with blow after blow. Hardly a day goes by that we don’t receive some type of intelligence information that law enforcement lives may be in further danger.
Someone somewhere has threatened to take the life of one or more peace officers to make a statement, get some type of revenge or right some perceived wrong. What person of reason would have ever believed it would come to this?
I still remember like it was yesterday that glorious day in 1980 when I first walked in public in my police uniform. I was amazed how people looked at me. So much respect and admiration was showered upon me and my shiny new badge. Children were anxious to meet me and their parents were proud to introduce their children to someone the child could look up to. I stood for all things good and right, for law and order and decency and total strangers were not afraid to tell me how much they appreciated me and the job I was doing. I walked straighter and taller, knowing the good citizens were behind me and supported my mission.
Fast forward to today and when I talk to bright, decent, educated young people about a career in law enforcement, many almost literally run away, and those who listen long enough often respond that a life of being resented and disrespected is not a career path of first choice. Again I ask, who thought this day would come?
And now we have to worry that while filling the gas tank of our vehicle, someone may walk up from behind and shoot us down in cold blood.
I am fully aware of all the arguments on both sides of how we arrived to where we are today. Like many, I am weary of the arguments but I do know one thing – now has to be the time to say “enough.” As we send our condolences, thoughts and prayers to all those dealing with this tragedy in Harris County, I want all of us to realize things have gone way too far. People of compassion and reason must no longer stand by silent. We must all join together and say “enough.”
For our dedicated employees at TCSO I ask these things of you, some easy and some not so:
Live carefully but do not be consumed by fear. Believe with all your heart that good, decent people do appreciate you and the job you do. Know also the command staff at this agency knows how difficult your job is each and every day. We support you and appreciate you. Do not let these events turn us bitter and angry. Resolve to live as examples for others.
Turn away from the hate and anger, and continue to serve the public with the care and compassion you routinely show each day. Act each day in the capacity of peacekeepers, yet protect yourself with all your might if violence is brought against you. Wear your uniform and badge with the pride that you know they deserve, and trust that so many others know that too. Take care and watch out for each other as we navigate through a time and a world we have never before seen. And most of all ask every good, supportive citizen you know to join us and say “enough.” A path to change is desperately needed and can’t come too soon.