Sound Off: Be strong, resilient and listen to each other

I have been giving considerable thought to the circumstances we, as a community and country, are currently facing. We are all coping with the stresses related to quarantine, including the separation, financial impacts and other disruption of our normal lives as well as the inexcusable death of George Floyd and the equally intolerable underlying factors that have allowed similar situations to occur far too frequently.

The inexcusable behaviors we all have seen in the video of Mr. Floyd’s death are contrary to our values, policies and training.

For the past several days, I have been frustrated, confused and mostly infuriated. I keep coming back to the question of “why?” Why are we still dealing with bias and racism? Why does this problem still exist? We all know better, we are better and yet, here we are.

As I write this, I am also thankful. I am thankful that I live and work in a community that has higher standards. I am thankful that the law enforcement officers in our community are competent, compassionate professionals who “get it”. I am thankful that our community has embraced their absolute right to protest and make their voices heard without tearing down our buildings and setting our community on fire.

I am thankful that we are willing to cut each other a little slack to vent our frustrations.

At the Island County Sheriff’s Office we are committed to our core values of service, professionalism and accountability. I didn’t make up these words to market our office. They were chosen from a list submitted by our employees.

These are not just words, they define our purpose.

We will continue to do our work with these principals as our guide. We will continue to make enforcement decisions based on facts and circumstances without regard to skin color or any of the other things that make us individually different. Law enforcement is something we do with and for the members of our community, not something we do to them.

Let’s be strong, resilient and listen to each other. Legitimate communication and leadership will carry us forward. Rage and hate will only hold us back.

• Rick Felici is Island County sheriff.

More in Opinion

Sound Off: Much of school district’s excellence due to levy ‘yes’ vote

Four years ago, North Whidbey voters approved a maintenance and operations levy… Continue reading

In Our Opinion: Oak Harbor pro-Trump rally during Capitol siege poorly timed

An angry and violent mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters were still… Continue reading

Sound Off: County needs to respond, in public, in detail

This newspaper published an editorial on Dec. 29, “Public Health nurse exodus… Continue reading

Arny, Matt
Sound Off: Navy committed to environmental stewardship

Numerous area media outlets, including The Seattle Times, have published stories citing… Continue reading

In Our Opinion: Public Health nurse exodus is cause for reckoning

It’s not unusual for the state Department of Health to assist a… Continue reading

My wish list to Santa Claus after a very hard Rock year

Dear Santa, This has been a Hard Rock year on Whidbey Island,… Continue reading

In Our Opinion: CARES money should be spent on pandemic recovery

Apparently we have different Facebook friends than Zencity. In its first report,… Continue reading

In Our Opinion: With proper mitigation, classroom learning can be done safely

Oak Harbor Schools are bucking the trend across the island and the… Continue reading

In Our Opinion: Local education is a key to COVID-19 vaccination success

The COVID-19 vaccine does not contain tiny microchips, it won’t infect you… Continue reading

Sound Off: Shopping small this holiday season needed more than ever

It’s no secret that the coronavirus pandemic has made a huge impact… Continue reading

Sound Off | Negotiations with Navy over connecting to sewer have ceased

As Mayor of Oak Harbor, I appreciate the partnership the city has… Continue reading

Wise Drive: Phone usage while driving increases crash risk

Q:What’s the deal with people who wear a mask when they’re driving… Continue reading