As president of the Pennsylvania Sheriff’s Association, I would be remiss if I did not address the tragic and cowardly killing of five brave Dallas Texas area law enforcement officers.

As a sheriff, as a law enforcement leader, as an American, my heart is broken and my prayers go out to the families of the fallen officers, the law enforcement community and the Dallas community as a whole.

As time has gone on since last Thursday, more and more stories are being told of the bravery of these officers protecting those they have sworn to protect. Running into the firefight as most sought to flee. Using their bodies to shield citizens in an effort to keep them from harm. Those officers did what law enforcement officers do every day. Put themselves in harm’s way, willing to lay down their lives if need be, to fulfill that oath “To Serve and Protect.”

My reason for writing this letter is twofold. The first is to lift up the law enforcement community, to show a solidarity that is necessary in the law enforcement profession and to also decry those in our profession that would use their badge of authority as weapon against society and not as the shield that it is intended to be used.

The second reason is to again bring attention to the plight of the Pennsylvania Sheriff as we fight to regain full law enforcement authority, to be full law enforcement partners with our brothers and sisters, whether trooper, officer or deputy. In a society where we are losing many of our youth to drugs, especially the enormous opiate addiction problem, the future of this great country is at stake, where we are seeing law enforcement officers being targeted, vilified and murdered just because they wear a uniform and a badge.

This letter is directed to our legislators, to our fellow law enforcement partners and to our citizens. The Pennsylvania Sheriffs and Deputies raised their right hand and swore an oath with the same commitment as the Trooper and Police Officer. To uphold the constitution of the United States, the constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to serve and protect the citizen of our communities.

We have no ulterior motive, we don’t want to “Take Over Territory,” or cause communities to close a police agency because we want to be the “Do All End All” in the fight against evil.

We just want to be full partners. We want to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with any and all of our law enforcement peers. We are trained equally to a municipal police officer, equipped and on the streets of our cities, on the roads of the Commonwealth and ready and able to re-enter the fight. We want to fight against the evil that preys on our society and not against one another.

So to all of our law enforcement partners that oppose us, let’s end this fight. Let’s send a message to those that would flood our streets with the poison that is killing so many. Let’s send a message to those that would use an isolated incident of perceived injustice at the hands of law enforcement to kill our brothers and sisters. Let us again stand shoulder-to-shoulder, with a mutual determination to bring justice to all.

To the members of the House and Senate of this great Commonwealth that have the ability, and I would say have a duty to assure our citizens that you are doing everything in your power to keep them safe, introduce and pass legislation once and for all to allow the Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs to again have full law enforcement authority. Let only one group have a voice that you would guide you in determining what role the Sheriff should play in our communities. The voice of the PEOPLE.

As I pray for these fallen officers, as I pray for a hurting country, my hope rests in a God who vows His Protection.

God Bless you all and God Bless America.

“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life. You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes; with your right hand you save me.” - Psalms 138:7

Respectfully,

Nick Hoke

Crawford County Sheriff

Meadville, Pa.

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