I am extremely proud of the hard work, dedication and tireless effort of the men and women of the Tehachapi Police Department. Every day they demonstrate their commitment to working with members of our community to improve the quality of life and to make Tehachapi a safe city.
Their profession has become extremely complex and increasingly more challenging. Officers are confronted almost daily with circumstances beyond your imagination and are often criticized by chronic fault seekers and an unforgiving media for the job they do.
These men and women risk their lives and make sacrifices day after day without ever expecting so much as a thank you. Many of their good deeds will go unnoticed and unrewarded. But they are OK with that and they will be back for their next shift tomorrow. They will be back because someone must do it. They will be back because their presence provides comfort to those they protect. They will be back because it is an opportunity to make a positive impact in their community or in the life of one person.
Congress has designated Oct. 28, 2019 as National First Responders Day to honor and recognize all first responders for their contributions and commitment to the safety and defense of our communities. Congress urges all Americans to recognize the contributions of first responders in their communities with ceremonies and activities.
While ceremonies, activities and verbal expressions of support on this day are certainly appreciated, I believe these brave men and women deserve so much more. They deserve to have those elected to represent us in Sacramento do so by supporting public safety and demanding law and order in our communities. This can only be accomplished by rethinking the irresponsible criminal justice reforms enacted as a result of AB109, Proposition 57, and most certainly, Proposition 47.
These are ineffective laws and policies that fail to punish criminal behavior for chronic and repeat offenders and undoubtedly contribute to more crime and disorder in our communities. Tehachapi is not immune from the negative effects of these failed policies. We have seen an increase in crime and regularly arrest the same offenders over and over again.
Our police officers need to be given the appropriate tools to do their jobs and that begins with legislation that actually punishes criminal behavior and most importantly, keeps chronic offenders incarcerated. These offenders repeatedly demonstrate their inability to follow the rules of a civil society and continually victimize innocent citizens.
We know the overwhelming majority of citizens in our community support law enforcement and the challenging job these men and women do. These supporters are sometimes overshadowed by the extremely vocal minority aggressively peddling their anti-police sentiment.
In honor of our first responders, I would encourage you to challenge this sentiment and be more vocal with your support for law enforcement. I would also encourage you to become more active in support of both politicians and legislation that supports public safety and provides these officers with the tools they need to make our community safe. They deserve this support each and every day, not just on special occasions.
Kent Kroeger is chief of the Tehachapi Police Department.