HOPEWELL, Va. (WWBT) - With recent protests, rioting and calls to defund the police, it can have a big impact on the morale of officers working to keep you safe. Major police departments across the nation have seen resignations as some local departments struggle to find new recruits, but a simple gesture is going a long way at the Hopewell Police Department.
The department received a letter in the mail from an area teenager who just wanted to say to tell the police, with everything that’s going on - they have an ally.
“This is the actual letter that it came in,” Chief Kamran Afzal said holding a brown envelope. “I get so much mail, all chiefs get so much mail. Usually, it’s some kind of sales pitch.” But that’s not what was inside. He opened it up and started reading. “Dear Hopewell Police Department. I would like to apologize on behalf of my generation and some of my fellow Americans,” it said.”
Intrigued, he kept reading. “I’m 18 years old and was raised to believe police officers are here to protect me and I still whole-heartedly believe that no one deserves to endure what the officers of this country are experiencing,” it said.
It comes as those fighting for police reform continue to take to the streets nationwide. Some officers have left their jobs across the country. This week in Seattle, the police chief there stepped down due to the city stripping funding.
In Colonial Heights, police leaders say it’s been a task to find new officers. Many of those who initially applied have had a change of heart.
“We are just as offended - if not more offended - when someone in our field does something unfathomable as what you saw that happened with Mr. Floyd,” Afzal said.
Afzal says he’s all for reform if it means greater accountability for police.
“If you have this authority over people, you should be held to a higher standard and I think we should be,” he said.
Meanwhile, he’s making sure his officers see a simple letter from someone who just wanted to say “thanks.”
“I was floored. I was like ‘wow, someone is that thoughtful’?” Afzal continued.
He plans to write that teenager back.
“We don’t want a few bad apples to paint all of us in a bad light,” he said.
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