TEMPLE, Texas —
Temple Police Chief Shawn M. Reynolds said in a letter to Temple residents, that the recent events in Minneapolis, the death of George Floyd, have created a chain reaction across the country.
"I want to be clear on my perspective of what occurred in Minneapolis and my resolve to approach both law enforcement activity and community relationship building," Reynolds said. "It is my firm belief that the police cannot be successful without community support and that begins by having an ongoing, authentic relationship between the community and the police."
Reynolds goes on to say that the use of force in the incident that involved George Floyd was unreasonable, improper and, "Does not represent tactics that are taught or supported by the Temple Police Department."
"We recognize there are incidents throughout the nation that raise legitimate questions about interactions between law enforcement and the community. Police Officers are sworn to protect the residents they serve," Reynolds said. "It is devastating to see that these interactions have caused citizens to fear those whose duty it is to protect them."
Temple resident Michael Dean was killed during an incident that involved a former Temple police officer in 2019. Reynolds said that he and the Temple PD understand that members of the community have legitimate concerns in regards to Dean's death.
The former Temple officer was arrested, charged and is no longer employed by the City of Temple, according to the Temple PD.
Reynolds said that he is committed to helping relationships between the Temple PD and the community grow through healthy and productive conversations about police and community issues. He said the Temple PD is committed to treating every citizen equally as discrimination and divisiveness are driven out of the city.
The Temple PD has started to review policies, procedures and training to provide the most up-to-date practices. Officers have tools and policies that cover biased based policing and are committed to a community that must flourish, according to the Temple PD.
"Our commitment is about relationships that are built on trust, compassion, respect and empathy. We are committed to listening and understanding as we continue to learn and grow from the experiences of others while creating a safe place to have difficult community conversations," Reynolds said. "I fully believe the Temple Police Department and our community can work together to promote understanding and build trust. Temple PD has taken a proactive approach to community policing since 1993 to reduce crime and improve the quality of life for residents. The Department is committed to adding additional personnel and increasing community and neighborhood policing efforts."
Reynolds said the Temple Pd fully supports the First Amendment rights of those who protest peacefully, but when other Temple residents are put in danger, that overshadows the message of social progress.
"As human beings, we are all fallible and capable of error and I am no different. However, I am committed to a culture in our police department based on our values and those of our community. I also want to remind anyone who feels they have been mistreated or marginalized to please contact our police department directly," Reynolds said. "It is our desire as a community to move forward together and identify areas of improvement. The members of the Temple Police Department look forward to working together with residents to learn, listen, discuss, and stand as one. It is an honor to serve the residents of this city. Together, we can work toward progress and unity."
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