Defiance Mayor Mike McCann wants a city council legislation demonstrating support for local first responders.
The proposed resolution — which McCann hopes to present to council during its meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday — particularly has law enforcement officers in mind.
That’s because of what took place last weekend in Los Angeles where two county sheriff’s deputies were targeted by a gunman who ambushed them. Both were wounded and survived.
As the city’s mayor, McCann said he has tried to remain optimistic, reassuring and calm during what has proven to be a challenging year.
“To this point I honestly thought the best thing I could do was just to try to show business as usual in Defiance, and try to keep everybody calm without getting too fired up,” he said. “What I’ve tried to portray is, ‘we’re going to get through this.’”
But he said he had had enough when he heard the news this past weekend from Los Angeles.
“... now I’m going to take a stand and support our safety service forces in northwest Ohio,” he explained.
The resolution will be drawn up by Law Director Sean O’Donnell, but McCann said a collaborative effort among other members of his administration will be utilized in crafting the wording.
“It will definitely address the violence against police officers,” he said. “The very people that every day protect us from violence are now on the receiving end of it, and it makes absolutely no sense to me. And it makes absolutely no sense to well into 90 percentile (of Americans) I have to believe, I hope.”
One person who supports the resolution is Defiance Police Chief Todd Shafer.
“I think it’s great the mayor wants to do a resolution supporting law enforcement, especially with everything law enforcement has been facing nationwide,” he said. “We’re fortunate that all the residents of Defiance are behind us and support us. It’s great just to have that backing from the mayor and City Hall. All the support we can get is beneficial. Even though we aren’t going through everything (as in metropolitan areas) it still weighs heavy on our minds.”
Shafer noted that the actions of protesters who chanted anti-police remarks near the scene of the Los Angeles shooting and blocked efforts to provide care to the officers was “disheartening” and “hurtful.”
“To hear what the protesters were doing is very disheartening for us,” said Shafer. “We’re out there putting our lives on the line. When you hear people in other areas actually chanting against law enforcement ‘let them die’ — that is just completely unfathomable for us. ... It’s very hurtful.”
McCann said he sympathizes with first responders’ and law enforcement officers’ families who worry on a daily basis that their loved ones may be in harm’s way as they protect the public.