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Central Washington University

Letter from CWU Police Chief: George Floyd

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Dear CWU Community, 

As the CWU Chief of Police, I am disgusted by the actions that were taken that resulted in George Floyd’s death and find myself at a loss for words in how to respond to an act that CWU logodepicts such an extreme indifference to human life. I can and will assure you right here and now that this is not how officers with University Police and Public Safety will treat anyone, anytime, anywhere, ever.

Every officer in this department answered the call of public service with a heart of pure intention and blind sacrifice for the public we serve. We must stand tall and vehemently against those that would tarnish the trust that we so desperately want to build with you.   

We, and our fellow law enforcement peers throughout this community, have worked incredibly hard to create positive relationships with those we protect and serve. We take pride in the reputation we have built for community trust and we will continue to do everything we can to retain it.  

To effectively do that, I and the officers I lead understand we must know those we are bound to protect and serve. And, after an injustice such as this, it only shows that we must work ever more diligently to be the change we want to see in our profession.  

For that reason, we will continue to be led by principals defined by the concepts of community-oriented policing, through which our department intentionally builds connections and works closely with all of the different communities that comprise Central. The goal is to make sure everyone who calls CWU home knows that they can and should trust any of my officers with whom they may come in contact at any time. 

To accomplish this, we must be able to work with you to fulfill your public service needs, navigate complex issues, advocate for victims, and be a resource for a variety of challenging situations. Without a solid foundation of trust, it would be unreasonable to expect you to bring us your concerns and troubles.  

What we saw in Minneapolis, and what has now sadly spread around the world, will undoubtedly heighten trust issues between the public and law enforcement. Even so, anyone associated with CWU can and should rest assured that University Police and Public Safety will continue to break down the walls of distrust as we protect and serve our university community and work together to build a pathway to acceptance, mutual respect, and understanding, on which we should all be able to agree.

We, too, are in shock and disgust at the life that was taken in Minneapolis. We see your anger, and we are angry; we see your sadness, and we are sad; we feel your mistrust and your broken hearts. Ours are broken too. We grieve with you and ask to join you to be the change. 

And, we pledge to continue to work diligently to make sure that anyone and everyone at Central Washington University knows, without a doubt, that we are here to serve and protect you with respect and dignity. You are the reason we are here.


Jason Berthon-Koch's signature

Jason Berthon-Koch
CWU Chief of Police

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