KENILWORTH, NJ - Please see this message made by Kenilworth Police Chief John Zimmerman.
Serving in this profession for over 32 years, I am extremely proud to be a Kenilworth Police officer and lifelong resident of Kenilworth. It saddens me that a human life was taken due to poor tactics, training, and actions that resulted in the death of George Floyd. There was no compassion for another human being whose life was callously disregarded by police officers that should have protected him from harm. It was a violation of humanity.
As we witness the pain and outrage resulting from the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd, I want to assure you that the members of the Kenilworth Police Department are also deeply troubled by this incident. The video that has been released is extremely disturbing and the actions displayed by the involved officers and their interactions with Mr. Floyd are not reflective of our core Mission and Values. Our officers are extremely skilled and trained professionals and each one of us has a sworn duty to uphold the law and always do the right thing, it is an oath we hold most sacred. We also have an obligation and responsibility to the community, each other, and ourselves to always take affirmative steps in protecting the safety and rights of the public we so proudly serve. I assure you that we hold ourselves accountable and dedicated to our core values: Respect, Fairness, and Sensitivity. We do so knowing that we must constantly strive to earn and maintain the trust and confidence that you, the community we serve, afford us each and every day.
lncidents such as this affect us all, but they are not reflective of the proud men and women of the Kenilworth Police Department who put their personal safety on the line every day to serve their community. I hope that you are as proud of them as I am.
Unsettling events in policing, involving police action or inaction, evoke such a depth of emotion, which needs to be addressed. All police leaders have the responsibility, whether the message is to defend unpopular actions of police officers, or bring attention to harmful and hurtful actions by officers whose poor decisions tarnish the profession, as in the case of George Floyd. Mr. Floyd’s death is deeply disturbing to me because it was preventable and should not have happened.
We must not shy away from having courageous conversations and dialogue. We value and depend on the relationships between the community and our department. These connections allow us to engage in meaningful dialogue around events that evoke such a depth of emotion. It is through dialogue that we hear other people’s perspectives and learn to empathize with one another. Proactive measures amongst law enforcement leaders must take place to prevent those actions from happening. All police officers have a duty to uphold the law. All officers must apply the law in a way that prioritizes and respects the sanctity of life that includes a duty to intervene when officers are acting outside of the law or policy. It is our moral obligation.
I am proud of the officers of the Kenilworth Police Department. I am exposed every day to the high moral standards, respect, empathy, and compassion they demonstrate. As sworn officers, we are granted the authority to protect our community. We understand that we must do so with a blend of humanity, empathy, sensitivity, respect and fairness to maintain our public’s trust.
I will not shy away from having courageous conversations and dialogue. Historically, law enforcement has contributed to the marginalization of many disadvantaged communities and groups. Our police values depend on the relationships between the community and our department. These connections allow us to engage in meaningful dialogue around events that evoke such a depth of emotion.