Jason Williams.JPG

Jason Williams

Tullahoma Police Chief Jason Williams has released a statement addressing the increased tensions between citizens and law enforcement following the death of George Floyd, of Minneapolis, at the hands of a former officer there.

“The past few days and even weeks leading up to and culminating with the senseless tragedy and death of George Floyd have been saddening and understandably created anger not only in our communities but also in the law enforcement profession,” Williams said in his statement. “Our men and women are charged with some very significant responsibilities within society, and the first of those responsibilities is to serve our communities and be a representative for what is good and right in society.”

Williams characterized the actions of former MPD officer Derek Chauvin as “not acting with decency and not working with compassion.” Seeing fellow officers act the way Chauvin and others who go to extreme measures in law enforcement do was “challenging on many levels.”

“We must be better and ensure accountability among ourselves to ensure we are better,” Williams said in his statement.

He added though the situation is “disheartening,” he takes hope in the fact that “the discussions and debates on injustices and social issues are being given a loud voice and creating unity among several different people from all walks of life.”

 “I also take hope in the fact that I see several great officers in our profession and agency that go out of their way daily to help those they serve – many times going above and beyond what is required regardless of the circumstances,” he said in the statement. “While there are some tough conversations we must have if they are going to be meaningful and forward-moving, I feel they must begin with compassion in our hearts and a level head.”

The police chief also noted that police officers are human and will make mistakes, though officers can correct those mistakes and “do more good than harm” if they “work through these situations with respect and dignity for all involved.”

“Our men and women are committed to working hard on advancing our relationships within the community for the betterment of everyone and the furthering of our profession,” the statement reads. “Thank you for the support you have shown our agency and me since being named your chief and becoming part of this great community!”

What follows is Williams' entire statement in full:

The past few days and even weeks leading up to and culminating with the senseless tragedy and death of George Floyd have been saddening and understandably created anger not only in our communities but also in the law enforcement profession. Our men and women are charged with some very significant responsibilities within society, and the first of those responsibilities is to serve our communities and be a representative for what is good and right in society. To see another wearing the badge and uniform not acting with decency and not working with compassion is challenging on many levels. We must be better and ensure accountability among ourselves to ensure we are better. While this is disheartening, I take hope in the fact that the discussions and debates on injustices and social issues are being given a loud voice and creating unity among several different people from all walks of life.

 

I take hope in the fact that I see several great officers in our profession and agency that go out of their way daily to help those they serve—many times going above and beyond what is required regardless of the circumstances. While there are some tough conversations we must have if they are going to be meaningful and forward-moving, I feel they must begin with compassion in our hearts and a level head. We are human and will be prone to mistakes at times, but if we work through these situations with respect and dignity for all involved, I know we will do more good than harm. Our men and women are committed to working hard on advancing our relationships within the community for the betterment of everyone and the furthering of our profession. Thank you for the support you have shown our agency and me since being named your chief and becoming part of this great community!

Staff Writer

Erin McCullough has won awards for her news reporting, community lifestyles and education reporting in the three years she's been a journalist. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and currently lives in Tullahoma with her cat, Luna.

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