Reeves Report: Stop fanning the flames of violence against cops

Bryce Reeves

America’s elected officials have long been a source of inspiration and hope for our own people and millions of others across the globe.

For more than 240 years, politicians in our country have given voice to our collective joys while addressing some of our deepest fears.

Their words matter.

The men and women who serve our communities as police officers are no more perfect than the rest of us. What makes them heroic to me is their commitment to serve, their faith in the rule of law, and their desire to make a positive difference for their family and yours.

But lately, some politicians have failed us when it comes to voicing their concerns with the methods used by law enforcement officers to protect people in our communities who are threatened by those with no regard for the laws that govern a civilized society.

At a time when we should be working together to unite our citizens and stomp out racism and prejudice wherever it exists, too many are fanning the flames of violence and making our police officers targets instead of heroes.

I write this as a member of the Virginia State Senate who walked American streets as a policeman after serving as an Army Ranger.

Every cop I worked with understands that there is a natural tendency for friction when dealing with enforcement of the law. You see, the true reality is, no one wants to encounter a police officer unless you really need one.

I understand this.

I’ve walked into houses torn apart by domestic violence and abuse as it was happening. I’ve had a gun trained on me by drug dealers in neighborhoods where the gang leaders rule the streets. I’ve pulled over drunk drivers exhibiting obvious anger and fear.

I have felt the apprehension that comes with showing up where you’re not wanted to help bring peace to a tense situation.

But I also understand the apprehension people feel when approached by a police officer. There is tension and even fear on both sides of that encounter as recent events demonstrate.

That’s why I feel the need to challenge my fellow elected officials to get this right.

We must guard ourselves from jumping to conclusions too quickly and understand that behind every situation is a family.

I know that on both sides of an interaction with law enforcement, there is family that cares about their loved ones.

If for no other reason, that’s why those in elected positions – or positions of influence in the media – need to temper their comments. Instead of mere talk, we must work to build communities through mutual respect and understanding. We must be united in our purpose to build better relationships and neighborhoods.  It starts at home, in our churches, schools, and community.

The rule of law is critical to our success as a nation and is embodied in our Constitution. It is up to those in uniform to honor and uphold the laws passed by our elected representatives, and that is not an easy job.

Ronald Reagan said it best, “Our unique experience demonstrates that law and freedom must be indivisible partners. For without law, there can be no freedom, only chaos and disorder, and without freedom, law is but a cynical veneer for injustice and oppression.”

The men and women who serve as police across this country engage their fellow citizens every day with one goal:  to make their part of the world a little safer and a little better. They strive to maintain the balance between freedom and the laws that keep our nation stable and at peace.

Unlike other occupations of public service, most of the time police are responding to a situation where the outcome results in taking away someone’s liberty via arrest, delivering bad news, or helping the victims of various crimes in the immediate aftermath.

It takes a special person to have the drive and ability to take on society’s ills day in and day out.

The men and women who serve our communities as police officers are no more perfect than the rest of us. What makes them heroic to me is their commitment to serve, their faith in the rule of law, and their desire to make a positive difference for their family and yours.

My challenge to my fellow elected officials – both Republicans and Democrats – is to pause before rushing to judgment and to speak in a way that reduces fear and apprehension.

When a police officer is targeted to be shot and killed, that’s an attack on a civilized society as much as it is on the man or woman in the crosshairs.

That means authority figures – in and out of uniform – must do better.

We all must do better.

Create a new path for Virginia Veterans

President Obama held a town hall on Wednesday, Sept. 28, at Fort Lee to discuss national security, foreign policy, and veterans issues that impact the military.

Sen. Bryce Reeves called on President Obama to address a new path forward for Virginia Veterans during his visit.

Below is a letter to President Obama from Sen. Reeves, regarding some of the most frequently cited issues that our veterans and military personnel encounter in Virginia. Sen. Reeves called on President Obama to create a new path forward to modernize our military capabilities in the face of growing threats, and to provide adequate leadership and funding for our veterans.

September 27, 2016

The Honorable Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

Washington, DC 20500

 

Dear Mr. President,

When you visit Fort Lee this Wednesday to discuss veterans, national security and foreign policy issues that impact our military, I hope you will outline new reforms desperately needed at the Veterans Administration.

As a former Army Ranger, co-chair of the Virginia General Assembly’s Military and Veteran’s Caucus, the Senate representative for the Virginia Military Advisory Council to the Governor and the reconstituted Commission on Military Installations and Defense Activities, a member of the Secure Commonwealth Panel, and a member the Board of Veterans Services, I have seen significant problems that require your immediate attention.

The VA remains dysfunctional even under new leadership. There are reports of secretaries being told to zero-out their wait time and the VA Secretary, Bob McDonald, compared the VA wait times to wait times in Disneyland. This illustrates an astonishing lack of leadership, accountability and respect that leaves our nation’s finest, those who received injuries defending our country, with no place to go.

We have 29 military installations in Virginia that lack adequate security and operate under the perpetual threat of sequestration and base realignment closure. My colleagues in the Virginia General Assembly and I are doing everything we can on our end to fund, equip, and protect our military installations that serve not only Virginia, but the entire United States; however, being constitutionally obligated to approve a balanced budget each year, we have limited resources when it comes to allocating the funds that our military installations need and deserve.

Some of our military leaders have acknowledged that our readiness is not where they would like it to be in the case of a major crisis or attack. In Virginia, the Air Force has 12 fleets of aircraft that qualify for antique license plates according to Gen. Mark Welsh.

During your town hall on Wednesday, I sincerely hope that you address a new path forward for the Veterans Administration and actions the Department of Defense is taking to modernize our military capabilities in the face of growing threats.

I look forward to reviewing your proposals so that I can provide my constituents and fellow veterans with an update.

Sincerely,

Bryce E. Reeves

Senator, 17th District

Senate of Virginia

Bryce Reeves represents the 17th Senate District of Virginia. He is a small business owner, former Prince William County Narcotics Detective, and U.S. Army Veteran (Army Rangers). He spearheaded legislation to save reciprocity for Virginia gun owners and is exploring a run for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, focusing on improving Virginia’s economy, preserving family values, protecting Constitutional rights, and fighting for taxpayers. Senator Reeves resides in Spotsylvania County with his wife Anne and their two children.