GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Gulfport Police Chief Leonard Papania has some strong words for those who want to paint police officers as the bad guys. In a post to the Gulfport Police Department's Facebook page Monday, Papania called it "insanity" to collectively vilify those who wear the badge.
"We exist because society can not remedy its own problems," Chief Papania wrote. "You call us when your neighbor's dog barks, when your eight year old doesn't want to go to school, when you see something suspicious, when someone is violent, whenever you need something that goes beyond your own ability or courage. And what do we do; we show up. When you call, we don't ask your sexual preference, we don't ask your color, we don't ask who you voted for, we don't ask do you like us, we just show up and help you."
Since the deadly attacks on officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, there has been an outpouring of support for law enforcement from people all across the country. But there has also been a lot of discussion about the excessive use of force, and profiling by some officers. Chief Papania has his own critique of those who want to second guess the decision making skills of police.
"While you sit and hope, we go out and act and do. Complaining or offering your thoughts in social media just clogs the airways and fuels the media for another story. Holding signs and marching last for the day. For once, why don't you do what we have done for so long, find some courage and go out into our community and make a difference. Teach a kid to read, help an elderly person do their daily task, pick up trash in you neighborhood, help someone, anyone," he wrote. "We are not going away, we have sworn an oath that even covers dealing with you on your worst day. We did not get into this job because we wanted our community to love us. We got into it to protect our community."
The chief ended his post by saying real change in our communities requires courage, honesty, integrity, compassion, loyalty and honor.
"When you meet these standards that we live by, change for the good will be the easiest thing you ever did."