Washington, DC - Patrick Yoes, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, responded to numerous questions from State and local lodge FOP presidents about the potential for protests like those in Ottawa, Canada. Yoes answered with a message of strong support for the men and women in law enforcement who are keeping their communities safe, even in the face of potential unrest on a national scale.
“We are very much aware of plans to organize disruptive protests in the coming days or weeks. Protecting the safe expression of our First Amendment rights—whether it’s a voting rights march or an anti-vaccination demonstration—is a sacred obligation of law enforcement officers in every community.
“That said, our law enforcement officers are sworn to uphold the laws as written and that includes enforcing lawful orders with respect to demonstrations which illegally interfere with traffic, commerce, or public safety. Our officers must check their politics at the stationhouse door—personal feelings, politics, or other considerations do not change our public safety mission. Law enforcement officers cannot afford to lower themselves to the level of local rogue prosecutors—picking and choosing what laws to enforce. We must enforce the laws as written without fear or favor.
“Many of our communities are struggling with increased violent crime and our citizens do not feel safe. Large-scale demonstrations may contribute to those feelings. The public should know that the men and women in law enforcement are on those front lines and will maintain law and order on our streets and in our communities. Our mission will not change in the coming weeks, no matter what challenges we face.
“We pray for the safety of our officers and for peace in our streets, schools, and neighborhoods.”