President Obama Pens Letter to Police: 'We Have Your Backs'

He also addressed tensions between police and communities.

July 19, 2016, 12:00 PM

— -- President Barack Obama told the law enforcement community that he fully supports them and promised, "We have your backs" in the wake of deadly attacks on police in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The comments came in a letter penned to the "brave members of our law enforcement community," posted Monday on the Fraternal Order of Police’s Facebook page, followed by a declaration that flags will be flown at half-staff at the White House and federal buildings in honor of the police officers killed.

"As you continue to serve us in this tumultuous hour, we again recognize that we can no longer ask you to solve issues we refuse to address as a society," Obama wrote in the open letter. "We should give you the resources you need to do your job, including our full-throated support."

In recent days, Obama has attempted to ease tensions between departments and minority communities and, at the same time, has insisted that the nation has the ability to come together. He promised that the country can move past this tense point and alleviate racial tensions while building stronger relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

"This is a time for us to reaffirm that what makes us special is that we are not only a country but also a community," he wrote.

"With that understanding — an understanding of the goodness and decency I have seen of our nation not only in the past few weeks but throughout my life — we will get through this difficult time together."

In his letter Obama acknowledged the danger police officers face on the job and reaffirmed that the the job they do is appreciated.

"Every day, you accept this responsibility, and you see your colleagues do their difficult, dangerous jobs with equal valor. I want you to know that the American people see it too," he wrote. "We recognize it, we respect it, we appreciate it, and we depend on you."

The president acknowledged that there is some mistrust of police officers in certain communities; he has received some criticism that he deepened the rift between police and communities through his comments after recent events. He addressed the notion that these events could be used by some to further drive a wedge between the two.

"Some are trying to use this moment to divide police and the communities you serve. I reject those efforts, for they do not reflect the reality of our nation," he wrote. "We will do it with the goodwill of activists like those I have sat with in recent days, who have pledged to work together to reduce violence even as they voice their disappointments and fears."

Recent attacks on police in Baton Rouge and Dallas left eight officers dead and 12 other officers wounded. In the letter Obama honored the fallen officers and praised police as a group for keeping the country safe.

"Thank you for your courageous service. We have your backs," he concluded.

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