South Brunswick Chief of Police Raymond Hayducka and Cranbury Chief Rickey Varga reacted to the violence in Dallas that killed five police officers and wounded seven others on Thursday as well as other ensuing violent demonstrations nationwide resulting from the deaths of two black men at the hands of police during the week.
“The events of the past 24 hours has unnerved us all, but our resolve to continue to protect our community is unwavering,” Chief Hayducka said in a statement on Friday. “The men and women who were attacked in Dallas last night were targeted because they wore the same uniform we do. The increase threat to law enforcement has led us to make changes to our operations. These changes will not alter our level of service.”
A lone sniper killed five Dallas, Texas police officers and wounded seven other officers as protesters demonstrated downtown on Thursday evening.
The shooter, a black, former U.S. Army veteran, opened fire during the demonstrations, and eventually died after police detonated an explosive device in the room with him, Dallas Chief of Police David Brown said in a televised interview.
The violent events of the last week started with videos surfacing of two black men dying after being shot by police in Minnesota and Louisiana last week.
According to published reports, Alton Sterling was shot several times after being pinned to the ground in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Videos of that shooting were posted on social media.
Then, the girlfriend of Philando Castile live-streamed a video of Castile after a Minnesota police officer shot the Falcon Heights resident in his car.
The two shootings sparked demonstrations throughout the country and incited the Dallas sniper “to kill white people, white (police) officers,” Chief Brown said.
“I have been in contact with our law enforcement partners at the Federal, State and County levels. There has been an increase in communication by people upset with police and wanting to act out,” Chief Hayducka said in his statement. “There is no specific information about any issues in our community at this time. I ask that if anyone has information about threats to law enforcement you call (732) 329-4646.”
Hayducka said that the department works “tirelessly” to build relationships with members of the community, and is appreciative for the support residents have expressed during the recent violence.
“Our department works tirelessly to strengthen our community relations and it is times like this that we rely on our partnerships,” Hayducka said. “I appreciate the outpouring of support for all the community members who dropped of items or took time to thank a South Brunswick officer for their service today. It is this ongoing level of cooperation and understanding that will help us all get through these difficult times.”
Cranbury Chief of Police Rickey Varga also thanked residents in that community for their support in a statement on Friday.
“We as a community are deeply saddened by the events which have unfolded in Dallas. This random and senseless attack touches us all. Our thoughts and prayers are with the officers and families of the Dallas Police Department,” Chief Varga said. “The Cranbury Township Police Department will continue to work together with our residents and community leaders to maintain the positive and transparent relationship we share. We work diligently, to understand the needs of our community and provide a professional yet personal level of policing to our community. Protecting the freedoms and rights of our citizens along with the safety of our residents and our officers will always be paramount. Mutual respect and understanding is the foundation to assure that we continue to achieve that goal and I am very proud of the model we have set.”
Acting New Jersey Attorney General Christopher Porrino held a conference call Friday with more than a dozen community leaders throughout the state and issued a statement about the violence on Friday.
“Law enforcement and community leaders from across New Jersey have resolved to continue to work together to ensure that people have the opportunity to demonstrate in a peaceful and productive manner, reducing tensions rather than raising them, following the shootings of police officers in Texas, as well as the officer-involved shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana,” he said in the statement. “Now is the time to use the bonds we have built to unite and ensure that these tragedies are not compounded in our communities. We have heard many helpful comments and suggestions from community leaders on (Friday) morning’s call, and we intend to do our best to implement their recommendations. We’re all committed to continue this open dialogue and encourage local leaders to work with their local law enforcement agencies in that same spirit.”
In a statement, the Islamic Society of Central Jersey offered its condolences and prayers to the families of both the two men shot by police and the officers that lost their lives in the following violence.
“Humanity and Muslims cannot be silent when faced with such violence. The foundation of society is to protect every life. . If we can save one life, than we have saved all lives. The taking of one life is tantamount to taking all lives,” the statement said. “Together we must uphold the sanctity of life - every life. Our hearts cannot continue to be broken with the news that another life was taken. We must stand together in prayer and in action to work for justice. These deaths should not be in vain.”
The ISCJ statement said these events are extremely disturbing and must be addressed in a serious manner.
“We must join together united on a strong message of justice, fairness, gun safety and an end to systematic racism,” the statement said. “In this time of difficulty, our hearts and prayers are extended to all of the families impacted by these tragedies. We pray to Allah Almighty to grant peace and calm.”
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