In the aftermath of the Dallas, Texas shooting of five officers last week, Mustang Police is receiving much support from the community.
Chief Chuck Foley said the outpouring has meant a lot to the department despite a “heightened” situation.
“On Friday, we had two anonymous deliveries of pizza and other things of food at lunch and that continued through the evening with baked goods and store bought food. There is a strong support mechanism and the community is not bashful making this known to the officers and we appreciate that,” Foley said. “I have always felt that, shortly after arriving, and it has shown itself through the five years I’ve been here.”
The department cannot help but take note of the killings in Dallas, the chief said, because of the proximity.
“The profession is the profession,” he said. “We have friendships and ties to Dallas, Texas.”
The Dallas incident, Foley explained, is the next to worse loss of law enforcement, second to the Sept. 11, 2001 attack involving the World Trade Center.
“9/11 was a huge catastrophic event but this was just a lone gunman – that is the difficult part,” Foley said.
Since the July 7 tragedy in Dallas, rallies have been hosted across the nation. Foley said he was glad to hear Sunday’s rally in downtown Oklahoma City went peacefully for the sake of their “brothers and sisters with the Oklahoma City Police Department.”
In other cities, this has not been the case and Foley said it’s disappointing.
“They haven’t even buried the five officers so there is an element of lack of respect,” he said.
But for Foley, he said his faith has helped him deal with the situation. He read in a religious reading about compassion and respect being the visual signs of love.
A diverse career
Before coming to Mustang, Foley worked with the Oklahoma City Police Department for 35 years, retiring as a major or division commander. He was stationed in many different bureaus throughout his career and most of his time was in administration.
But there was a time, early in his career, he worked the streets doing traffic enforcement.
“That was the division assigned to me out of rookie school,” Foley said.
He was also fortunate to receive a temporary assignment in investigations, he said.
The chief recalls having a few close calls when someone was trying to resist arrest or he had to subdue an arrestee in his vehicle.
He’s been head butted and even cracked a tooth. Foley said he once had a suspect take off on him after he stopped the man for driving with no headlights.
“I discovered he had cocaine and he took off. I drew down on him but chose not to shoot. We were in a residential area and I had his car so had a good idea of who he was.”
The man, who had given Foley a false name, ended up being a wanted felon out of California.
The chief said officers can have preconceived notions in that they are positioned to do something a certain way because history repeats itself. He called it an “internal caution.”
The chief said often times officers are accused of profiling people. He said these days between high head rests and dark tinted windows on vehicles, an officer doesn’t know either the gender or ethnicity of whom they are stopping.
“Your purpose for stopping them, it’s for a violation. Not for who it is but for the violation,” he said.
Then anything that escalates from that, he said, is triggered by how the offender complies with the officer or lack of compliance.
In recent years, police shootings have been heavily reported on in broadcast media. Foley said often times the public doesn’t know all of the facts in the case.
Despite the challenges and threats they face daily, Foley said the Mustang Police Department will keep on doing their jobs and carry on.
Foley is slated to retire this September and the city’s search for a new chief is underway.