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Inflammatory rhetoric dishonors our police officers

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy recognized the importance of the contributions of the law enforcement community, creating Peace Officers Memorial Day and National Police Week, paying tribute to officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty and for protection of others.

Now, more than ever, we remain grateful and united to those who serve to protect all our communities. Across the country, 49 officers were killed in 2019 responding to domestic violence incidents, serving warrants or investigating cases.

Here at home, we ask much of the officers of the New Mexico State Police in normal times. They are our guardians of public peace and safety, working in virtually every community in our diverse and vast state. Every day they are asked to put themselves in the line of duty to protect each and every New Mexican; this is a duty I know they do not take lightly.

Now, State Police officers are asked to do even more; their duty to our state means they are on the front lines of COVID-19 every single day, on every single call.

While many in New Mexico remain united in support for our law enforcement, a few vocal individuals have chosen to demonize the brave men and women of the State Police. Some public officials have gone to the extreme to compare the work of our State Police to the crimes of the Holocaust or the tragedies of Kent State. This rhetoric of violence and fear is clearly designed to spread divisive politics rather than protect the health and safety of New Mexican families.

Dangerous rhetoric should not fuel the already dangerous environment for our law enforcement community. I cannot and will not stand by as officials characterize law enforcement officers as agents of tyranny. Our communities have made substantial progress during this difficult time, and officers deserve better.

I stand by them in asking all New Mexicans to honor the recognition of President Kennedy and the sacrifices that our officers make every day. I know the overwhelming majority of New Mexicans stand in unity with them, and I trust we will all work together to keep our communities safe.

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