Two weeks ago, we watched with abject horror as George Floyd begged for his life while those who swore an oath to protect kneeled on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.
We were appalled.
We were appalled at the death of Ahmaud Arbery, as well as others that have been highly publicized. We grieve these senseless deaths with the black community and with the world.
At Valhalla Wood Forge, we are military veterans, law enforcement officers, and people. We have stood shoulder to shoulder and proudly served with men and women from the black community, from the LGBTQ+ community, and from other minority communities. We have sworn oaths to protect and serve all people, from all communities.
We believe Black Lives Matter.
We abhor racism and bigotry in all of its forms.
We agree that any organization or institution has room for improvement, and policing is no exception. We believe police reform is necessary and we, as well as many of our colleagues, are listening. We are engaging, and we are evolving.
However, we firmly do not believe that defunding the police is the answer. Neither is disbanding the police, as is being done and considered in places in this country, the answer.
We care deeply about the communities we serve, and we are deeply concerned with the direction these conversations are headed. Reducing the police will put the public and our communities at risk. We firmly believe this. This is not the way forward.
We realize this may not be the current popular opinion. We realize we may lose business over this stance.
But we must stand up for what is right.
And what is right is to continue the conversation between law enforcement and the community, and not shut those conversations down with cries to rid our cities of those who put themselves into harms way daily to help the communities they serve.