Earlier this week, the Temple Police Department announced that Shawn M. Reynolds had been selected to head the department as Chief of Police, and that he'd already gotten to work, meeting with City officials and various units within the department.

Reynolds, a Navy veteran who most recently served as Deputy Chief of Police over the Operations Bureau in Olathe, Kansas, steps into the role of Temple Police Chief during a tumultuous time. Protests demanding justice for George Floyd and justice reform continue across the nation, and the Temple community (and all of Central Texas) continues to await the results of an investigation into the shooting death of Michael Dean at the hands of a Temple PD officer late last year.

Today, Chief Reynolds released a letter addressed to the people of Temple, presented in its entirety below:

Dear City of Temple residents, friends, colleagues, guests and visitors,

Recent events in Minneapolis have created a chain reaction across our country. This reaction has led to pain, anger, frustration and in some cases, lawlessness. We have watched as people across the nation voiced their sadness, outrage and hurt over a horrific incident that took the life of George Floyd.

I want to be clear on my perspective of what occurred in Minneapolis and my resolve to approach both law enforcement activity and community relationship building. It is my firm belief that the police cannot be successful without community support and that begins by having an ongoing, authentic relationship between the community and the police.

The use of force applied in the incident involving George Floyd was unreasonable, improper and does not represent tactics that are taught or supported by the Temple Police Department.

We recognize there are incidents throughout the nation that raise legitimate questions about interactions between law enforcement and the community. Police Officers are sworn to protect the residents they serve. It is devastating to see that these interactions have caused citizens to fear those whose duty it is to protect them.

Last year, Temple resident Michael Dean was killed during an incident involving a former Temple police officer. We understand that members of our community have legitimate concerns regarding that incident.

The former officer involved was investigated, arrested and charged for his role in this incident. He is no longer employed by the City of Temple. We are confident that many of the outstanding concerns will be answered through the judicial process.

As Chief of Police, I am committed to fostering relationships between the Temple Police Department and the community through healthy and productive conversations concerning police and community issues. We are committed to treating each of our citizens equally as we drive hate, discrimination and divisiveness out of our city.

I, the staff and members of the Temple Police Department have begun a review of policies, procedures and training to ensure that we are providing the most up-to-date best practices, expectations and training to the dedicated members of the Temple Police Department. Our officers have tools, such as body cameras, policies that cover biased based policing and are committed to a community that must flourish.

Our commitment is about relationships that are built on trust, compassion, respect and empathy. We are committed to listening and understanding as we continue to learn and grow from the experiences of others while creating a safe place to have difficult community conversations.

I fully believe the Temple Police Department and our community can work together to promote understanding and build trust. Temple PD has taken a proactive approach to community policing since 1993 to reduce crime and improve the quality of life for residents. The Department is committed to adding additional personnel and increasing community and neighborhood policing efforts.

The Temple Police Department fully supports the First Amendment rights of the people to peacefully assemble, but placing fellow residents in danger and destroying property overshadows the message of social progress.

As human beings, we are all fallible and capable of error and I am no different. However, I am committed to a culture in our police department based on our values and those of our community. I also want to remind anyone who feels they have been mistreated or marginalized to please contact our police department directly.

It is our desire as a community to move forward together and identify areas of improvement. The members of the Temple Police Department look forward to working together with residents to learn, listen, discuss, and stand as one.

It is an honor to serve the residents of this city. Together, we can work toward progress and unity.

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