As unrest continues across the nation, Sheriff Coates is thanking the public for their support.
By SARA VANDEN BERGE
Facing an increasingly violent movement for police reform, law enforcement officials are dealing with a harsh new reality: Disdain and violence against their own.
Across the country, police departments have been vandalized and set ablaze; officers have been spat on, a cop in Florida had his neck slashed and a retired officer was shot to death.
And as Erath County Sheriff Matt Coates watches the events unfold on television, he is saddened by what he has witnessed.
“It’s sad. I absolutely support the peaceful protests, but the violence is wrong, and it’s dividing us even more,” Coates told BTS News.
“Thankfully, we are not seeing any of that here. In fact, a guy called yesterday and wanted to give the staff gift cards to Hard Eight BBQ and a little later a couple brought us brownies.”
Keeping his staff well fed with treats and special lunches is great, he said, but the support his department continues to receive from a grateful public is what matters most.
“Every day we get calls and notes and pats on the back, and that means a lot,” Coates said.
And as unrest and uncertainty continues to plaque other parts of the country, Coates is telling his deputies to continue conducting business as normal.
“We are not doing anything different because we were doing it right already,” he said. “We sometimes deal with people who are angry or don’t like cops, but I tell my staff to remain professional and just do their job.
“I want the public to know we appreciate them standing behind us.”