Natick Police Chief James Hicks has joined other cops across the state and country in speaking out against the notorious conduct of members of the Minneapolis Police Force involved in the death of George Floyd.
Natick Police Department issued the statement on the same afternoon that hundreds flocked to Natick Center in a peaceful protest against racism and police brutality. Protests in other communities across the country have started peacefully, though not all have ended that way.
The chief’s statement on the death of George Floyd:
As a Police Officer for over thirty years and a Chief of Police for nineteen years I am saddened and angered about the tragic death of George Floyd. I condemn the actions of the Minneapolis officers involved in his death.
There are standards that we as police officers embrace – we live in the 21st Century and our policing practice must mirror our recognition of equality of all races and cultures through the lens of Procedural Justice.
The Mission and Training of the Natick Police Department, and the training of all Massachusetts Police Officers, is based on a community policing philosophy and the theories from the Six Pillars of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing Report in 2015. These pillars include; Building Trust and Legitimacy; Policy and Oversight; Technology and Social Media; Community Policing and Crime Reduction, Training and Education and Officer Safety and Wellness. Every member of this department is dedicated to these pillars and the actions, such as those in Minneapolis, is contrary to this and would not be acceptable in our organization or by our community. We practice these pillars through our engagement in the community, through our willingness to be part of the conversation and discussion no matter how difficult the topic and also our desire to join together to be partners in problem solving.
As the Chief of Police for the Town of Natick I can say without doubt or hesitation that every member of this department is appalled and angry as to what they saw in Minneapolis. The members of the Natick Police Department are trained and re-trained each year to prevent any type of incident to get to that level. In addition, our policies and practices strictly prohibit any techniques around the neck area unless it is a life or death situation. Every officer has also been trained on the dangers of positional asphyxiation and are trained and instructed not to allow anyone in custody to lay handcuffed on their stomachs. Every memberof the Natick Police Department has undergone training to recognize implicit bias. We understand that it is part of every citizen. We gained, through the training, the tools necessary to understand, accept and embrace the differences inherent in all of us and to ensure that we treat everyone as an individual of value.
I am proud of the women and men of this organization. They are hired based on their character and values and they are proud of this community and their role as guardians and partners. To wear a badge that says Natick Police, expressly means we are supportive of every individual regardless of race, culture, or gender. As your Police Chief, I will not tolerate disregard for our community’s values and neither will the members of the department.
All residents and visitors should be confident that the Natick Police Department understands the difficult role it plays in the complex society which we live today. They embrace this challenge to make our community better each day by their actions and beliefs.