Police Chief Andy Hall urges Fresno officers not to lose faith in community

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno Police Chief Andy Hall responded on Wednesday night in a Facebook post to the shooting of two police officers in Louisville, Kentucky.

He called on his officers not to lose faith in the community - that they need and support them.

"I continually tell the public to not judge our department and our officers by the actions of officers 3000 miles away. Similarly, we cannot judge our community by the actions of communities across the country," he said.

He added, addressing the police department, "Do not lose your faith or allow yourself to be hardened by calls for defunding police departments, your community supports and needs you."

The two officers were shot and wounded during demonstrations expressing anger over the killings of Black people at the hands of police.

RELATED: Protesters take to streets of Louisville, Kentucky, after indictment in Breonna Taylor case

Protesters took to the streets on Wednesday evening, hours after a Kentucky grand jury brought no charges against Louisville police for Breonna Taylor's death.

Chief Hall's full statement is below:

A message to our officers and the community from Chief Hall

This evening I watched in horror as a major US city erupted in violence directed at its police department over the death of a young woman. As the violence escalated, two police officers were tragically injured by gunfire and I pray for their recovery. Just like you, I have dedicated my life to the service of this community. We will respond to calls for help and will risk our very lives regardless of race or income. I'm not sure how police officers became the bad guys and gals but I can tell you my heart is heavy. Do not lose your faith or allow yourself to be hardened by calls for defunding police departments, your community supports and needs you.
Just yesterday I met with community and religious leaders from neighborhoods most impacted by the recent spike of crime in our city. They made it very clear that they support you and need you in their neighborhoods. They are witnessing the dramatic increase of violence and are ready to work hand in hand with our department to make our community stronger. They do not support defunding their police department and we can no longer afford to allow their voices to be drowned out by the radical few.
I continually tell the public to not judge our department and our officers by the actions of officers 3000 miles away. Similarly, we cannot judge our community by the actions of communities across the country. Now is not this time to circle our wagons and distance ourselves from the very people we swore to protect. We need to get out of our cars and engage with our community. Treat everyone with dignity and respect. Let them know that we are still here to serve and we will never abandon them.
We are Fresno and this is our family.
Andrew J. Hall
Chief of Police
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