Barberton Police Chief
As I write this we are several weeks into social distancing and a few days into the Governor’s Stay At Home Order in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus as we prepare for the surge.
As police officers, we collectively find ourselves in the middle of a societal balancing act. Basically, we are on lockdown for at least two weeks, which sounds like it would make it easy for us. No bar fights? Everyone staying at home? Peace and love. Rainbows and unicorns. Right? Well, it’s not that easy.
We have incredibly nervous people who are afraid that their lives will never recover. Some have lost their jobs, others are afraid they will. They’re dealing with intense personal and professional pressures they’ve likely never faced to this degree before and they’re stuck in forced isolation with a whole lot of time on their hands to surf social media and find the crazies who contribute to the paranoia.
For some, they try something, anything, for attention and to be seen as relevant. Will explosive tensions begin to boil? I want to be wrong but our recent uptick in arrests for domestic violence points me otherwise. We truly believe most people are good and rational. But fear coupled with a high level of uncertainty and idle time to boil can drive even the most reasonable of us to become certifiably unreasonable. I have been asked multiple times how it all will go and how it will end. My response is that, I don’t know. What I do know is that all the individuals and organizations whose responsibility is to handle this crisis in real time have a genuine concern for everyone’s health.
That extends from the federal level to the state and down to city of Barberton and our neighborhoods. When the big goal is to come together and take care of each other, there is very little we can’t accomplish. That’s where we are today, folks. Working together, we can do wonderful things. What’s Ford doing today? They stopped making cars and they’re making ventilators. What are some of the vodka companies doing? They’re making hand sanitizer. What are Americans doing? Everything they can from staying at home to stop the spread to working day and night in essential businesses to take care and support their fellow citizens.
Those of us in the law enforcement world know that if you’re not healthy and you’re not safe, then very little else matters. I want you to know that The Barberton Police Department will continue to be there every hour of every day to keep our community safe. It’s our job. It’s our duty. It’s what we do. It’s who we are. We’ll do what it takes to keep our community as safe as we can. We ask that you do the same.
Lt. White and I were discussing all this the other day and trying to put it into perspective. We have both read Viktor Frankl and were discussing social contract theory, and we would like to leave you with this.
Anne Frank and her family were forced to hide in a warehouse attic for two years, during the Nazi regime by Adolf Hitler. She could not attend school, nor was she allowed to see her friends. In spite of everything she was still a young child of hope. When you feel down, think of Anne Frank and remember her words, “I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains, go outside to the fields, enjoy nature and the sunshine, go out and try to recapture happiness in yourself and in God.”
When you feel down, think of all the beauty still left in and all around us. It’s there if you look for it. We will all take on this virus and win. Stay home and stay safe.
The Herald and readers are thankful for the police, fire and all service workers working hard through this pandemic. Please be kind to one another and stay safe.