Editors note: by permission from Mr. Copeland we are publishing his letter and Facebook post.
I am writing in regards to the national and now local calls to “Defund the Police”. I have been a resident of Great Falls for over ten years, minus a few attempts to move away that lasted less than a year in total. I am a proud member of our community and town, and as such have nothing but respect and admiration for our law enforcement heroes.
I hope that none of you have taken these calls to defund our police department with even an ounce of serious thought. Our police department is the core of our communities “First Responders” and are often if not always the first to any scene resulting in a call for help.
Our officers are medics, providing life saving first aid until paramedics arrive. Our officers are counselors, expertly de-escalating dangerous situations and dangerous people in distress. Our officers are shoulders to cry on when they respond to tragedy with grieving family members standing by. Our officers are tactical warriors, responding to homicide calls and preserving the lives of our citizens.
For these reasons, I say increase their funding! Training costs money and because of the vast set of circumstances an officer may encounter they need more tools in their belt than ever.
On the thought of “militarized police force”, I will end with this thought:
When Ricky Gaurdipee banged on my door at 5:45 am this past December, approximately two minutes before he was shot and killed by officers, I called 911 and asked for police. I needed police assistance immediately as I had no idea why someone was so aggressively beating on my door.
I was behind the door armed and ready to defend my family had he made entry, however I am not a law enforcement officer and going outside to confront an unknown threat is out of the question for me.
After the news broke of who was banging on my door and what he had done, I can confidently say that I don’t care if GFPD would have responded with assault weapons, humvees, tanks or F16’s.
Please feel free to share my thoughts with our local police leadership and anyone else you feel should read these words.
Proud Great Falls Resident