By Officer Wes Hansen, Santa Cruz Police Department (re-posted with permission)
These are some photos of me and my friend Sebastian. He is a local business owner and, more importantly, an awesome human being. He reached out to me after the tragedy in Dallas and, like me, understands the role that the media has played in dividing this country. He and I wanted to do something to try and change that narrative, at least on a local level so he asked me to take these photos with him yesterday.
I think they are important to share for two reasons
First, they show… unity between the community I serve and its members. Second, and more importantly, these photos encapsulate exactly why I chose to be a Police Officer. The last couple of days have not been easy that there is an incredible amount of anger on both sides about what has happened. Tensions are high between the community and the Officers who serve those communities. People are openly calling for the murder of Officers and then carrying out those murders. I will be honest, it is not fun to be a Police Officer or the family member of a Police Officer right now. That being said, it’s not fun being a person who openly supports the Police right now either so when Sebastian told me he wanted to take these photos, I was honored. All of my anger faded away and I realized that what I have spent the last 15 years of my life doing was not in vain.
THIS is why I do this job, to keep the community safe and earn the friendship and respect of its members
This is what it looks like when we come together as a community to build bridges rather than tear them down. This is what respect looks like. Thank you to everyone in my life and all of the community members in not just Santa Cruz, but all over the world, who have the courage to support the Police and who are working with Law Enforcement for positive change.
To all my brothers and sisters in Blue, stand tall and keep your heads up. There are more people out there than we know who will stand behind us.