Cleveland Brown Players Partner With Police
To Understand What Officers Deal With On A Daily Basis
One of the smartest ways I can think of to learn more and understand better about the stress placed on law enforcement is to have those who are being disrespectful partner with officers and ride along with them on patrol or participate in a short training course to learn more about themselves and the stress that officers deal with on a daily basis.
To their credit the Cleveland Browns did just that. Here is what happened and some of their comments on the experience. They are not the only ones to have done so in the last few years but given current NFL problems, this is a timely way to bring about a greater appreciation and respect for what being in law enforcement in today’s world means. And yes, it helps with their PR.
This is a far better way to bring about positive change and a better appreciation of what their roles in sports and their communities can accomplish than taking a knee during the national anthem.
Officers are not perfect — they deal with so much on the streets and must walk out the door every morning not knowing what the day will bring or if they will come back home to their families.
Kudos to the Browns for taking a positive first step to open dialog to try to better understand both sides of the enforcement issue.
Browns players join Cleveland Division of Police, Shaker Heights PD officers for ride-along
October 11, 2017
On Tuesday, Cleveland Division of Police and Shaker Heights Police Department officers hosted five Browns players – TE Seth DeValve, DL Tyrone Holmes, LB Christian Kirksey, DL Carl Nassib and TE Randall Telfer – on local ride-alongs in the Greater Cleveland Area.
During the ride-alongs, Browns players and officers welcomed the opportunity to engage in meaningful one-on-one conversations and learn more about their shared Cleveland community. The groups also collectively interacted with organizations and individual members within the city, including visits to local neighborhoods, high schools, the Zelma George Recreation Center and the Lonnie Burten Recreation Center.
“The Cleveland Division of Police is proud to partner with the Cleveland Browns organization to promote positive community engagement,” said Sergeant Jennifer Ciaccia, Cleveland Division of Police’s Public Information Officer. “The ride-along between the officers and the athletes was an important step in allowing for more open dialogue and relationship building.”
BROWNS PLAYER QUOTES
TE Seth DeValve:
On his experience during the ride-along with Cleveland Division of Police officers:
“The experience was awesome. I had never seen so much of the Cleveland community all at once, which was really a great opportunity. I also got to interact with more Cleveland community members and children than I have ever had the opportunity to do. We stopped by the rec center and local high school football practice to speak to some kids, which was awesome and brought me back all the way to my high school football days and just passing on some wisdom so to speak that I have learned along the way to those kids. It was also an opportunity to see how much people love Cleveland football and Cleveland sports.
“We talked a lot about the Police Academy, how they are trained and the different rigors that they go through to be able to wear the badge and the different schooling and studying that they have to go through to be able to do what they do.
“I learned about East and West Cleveland and some of the differences therein and some of the challenges that are in the different areas.
“I learned a lot about what these guys go through on a daily basis, what challenges they face on a daily basis and the challenges they face keeping the community safe. I also learned some of the good parts of their job and the bad parts of their job, just like any job.
“It was cool to hang out with them and the community altogether at the same time. It was a great experience.”
On why choosing to participate in the ride-along was meaningful and important to him:
“Law enforcement is a really important job. It has been a profession that has gotten a lot of attention lately – maybe unfairly in some cases and maybe fairly in others. It was important to me to try and speak with officers and build relationships with officers in particular to learn about what they go through and what they do for a profession – when you hear what the media portrays – and you can really judge it properly.
“I think our society as a whole is going through some growing pains right now in regards to social justice and equality. Police have a role in it. All community members have a role in it. There are a lot of difficult and complicated conversations that are going on, and the more conversations you can have and the more sides of the conversation you are familiar with, the more wisdom you will have and the more direction you will be able to have when it comes to proposing solutions or changes.
“It was a good start. It is not enough for just one ride-along, but it is a really good start and something to build on.”
On similarities between police officers and football players:
“There are a lot of similarities between the training that goes into what we do, the attention that covers what we do and some of the misconceptions that cover what we do as pro athletes and what they do as police officers. That is a bonding force. You want to be able to try and walk in somebody’s shoes as much as you can before you can make adequate judgements about their situations. That is what this was about.”
DL Tyrone Holmes:
On his experience during the ride-along with a Shaker Heights Police Department officer yesterday:
“It was awesome. It was really cool. I kind of had no clue what the day-to-day jobs of a law enforcement officer are. It was cool just being able to ask questions, be involved and kind of figure out what they go through, the concerns they have and what they have to think about as they go throughout their day. A lot of times, people go throughout their day and it is hard to kind of put themselves in other people’s shoes and get that perspective of what these guys are putting themselves through on a daily basis. It was really cool to gain that perspective a little bit as far as what they go through.
“As far as the Shaker Police Station specifically, it was cool to see how involved they are in the community – walking around outside and just how involved they are and how connected they seem to be with the people in town.”
On potentially considering professional opportunities in law enforcement after his NFL career:
“Yeah, maybe. I have talked to (director of team security) John (Frain) a little bit. He had a long career in the FBI. I talked to him about maybe that being a possibility one day. Hopefully, that is in the distant future, but we will see. I want to keep my options open. It is definitely an interesting field, and it is cool to have people who are definitely willing to give service to the community.”
LB Christian Kirksey:
On why it was important to participate in the ride-along with Cleveland Division of Police:
“For me, I wanted to bridge that gap with what is going on and just getting people to understand why me, as a person, as an athlete and a policeman, as a person, just getting a chance for us to really see different views of how things are or different perceptions and I feel like me getting into the community with the officers shows kids that officers are good. Players, we are trying to get into the community. I got my man right here, we were out here playing flag football. It was just cool to come out here and play with these kids and just show them that we do care. As athletes, we care about the community, we care about the community and we care about their well-being. We are trying to be a positive influence to the younger generation, so I feel like it is my responsibility to really be a role model for kids. That is what I am all about and these officers came out here, they are showing they are good young men, as well. You can’t really control everything that is going on in the world, but it just goes to show you that we do have some good officers. Not all officers are bad and things like that, so it was a good chance to get to know them personally and to get to know these kids personally. Look at these kids, man, they are having a great time. Trying to get an autograph, Go Browns, so definitely enjoying this moment.”
On what unity means to him:
“For me, unity is everything. If you are a different race, different gender, different color, that doesn’t matter. We are all people. We are all people under God. That is just how I was raised, and I just hope to share some of that love to these kids here, just watch them grow up and be a service in their community, as well. That is what unity really speaks to me and that is what unity is all about for me.”
TE Randall Telfer
On why it was important to participate in the ride-along with Cleveland Division of Police:
“We talk a lot about bridging the gap between community and law enforcement. I felt like this was my way of doing so. Our local law enforcement does a lot for this community. I wanted to show my appreciation but also hang out with them, talk to them and get to know them on a personal level. That is what we did today.”
On his biggest takeaway from conversations with Cleveland Division of Police officers and sharing each other’s perspectives:
“I did ask how they felt about player protests, and they did acknowledge that it was a right that players have, which they respected. That was cool to hear. There are a lot of people who obviously don’t agree with guys who are protesting, but to have the law enforcement not necessarily being on our side but to acknowledge and respect what the guys are doing, that was pretty cool.”
On what unity means to him and how the ride-along relates to it:
“For me, it is not necessarily just coming together but it is a love for the people that make up this country. The United States is unique in that it is made up of so many different types of people – races, religions, ethnicities, gender and others. To ignore [unity] or to kind of put it to the side just shows that maybe we are not loving our country as much as we should. I think at the heart of it love is what is going to see us through.”
I would also say that going through a training session would be an excellent way as well.
Those officers had less than a minute to live or die and had no way of knowing what to expect…what would you have done?
I may have reservations about guns being my first option or about officer personalities and overly stressed officers who have been on duty for extended shifts; but even I realize that there are a lot more times especially over the last eight years that deadly force or some form of drugged response lethal violence against police has escalated to the point that every officer is now primed and ready for an attack.
As much as the lack of patriotic pride angers me when players take a knee, I am also outraged because many of them have little to no understanding of what ALL who help keep us safe and free, save us in crisis situations, or protect our families and homes when no one else will have to deal with on a daily basis.
If the rest of the football players or any anti-gun fanatics for that matter want to make a statement, do it like the Browns did, find someway in the community to communicate, to make a difference and open dialog…ride along with a police officer on duty, take training courses like the above to test their own responses, take a brief firefighting course…but DO SOMETHING CONSTRUCTIVE.
Be a positive help rather than a punk. Protest AFTER you do this and at an appropriate time rather than acting like jerks and punk role models.
I would also like ALL congress members to do the same as a Day One prerequiste….at least that way when they consider laws that affect safety, enforcement, and security, they would at least do it from a better understanding of what those on the ground level have to deal with