The senseless killing of Newman Police Corporal Ronil Singh has left a hole in the hearts of so many and has left our community wondering…where do we go from here, what do we do now?
We are grieving, nothing like his family and fellow officers, but we are grieving nonetheless. We need to grieve though, we need to feel the pain of losing a life that meant so much to our community. We need to know that if it happened in Newman, it can happen anywhere at any time.
Through the course of these last two weeks, I have had the privilege of seeing first-hand the true brotherhood of law enforcement. Just how close these men and women become when they join the legion of other Americans who have decided to give of themselves to protect others…to protect us. Because of this brotherhood, more than 2,500 law enforcement officers paid their respects to Ronil in the course of two days Friday and Saturday. The profound statement that it made to see all of these uniformed officers filling row after row for his services at CrossPoint Community Church, the 683 vehicles and 100 motorcycles that took part in the procession to Lakewood Memorial Park…it was simply overwhelming and extremely emotional.
As a community and as a nation, we need to embrace this brotherhood. They lay their lives on the line every time they walk out their door to go to work, just as Ronil Singh did, to protect each and every one of us each and every day. Think of their loved ones on the other side of the door that just closed, praying they don’t get that call, that knock on the door that tells them something has happened. Personally, I don’t know that I could or would take up that responsibility. I thank God, though, that there are those, like Ronil and the other officers of Newman Police Department, who give of themselves so that our communities are better places to live.
So where do we go from here? We must not be complacent. We must not let the death of our officer, Ronil Singh, be in vain. Right now we are grieving and we are angry and we want to do something but how will we feel in a week, in a month, in a year?
It is our duty as citizens and members of our communities to not forget Ronil Singh, to not forget all the good that he did in his short 33 years here on earth. If your passion is to become involved politically – do it. If your passion is law enforcement – go for it. If your passion is to be involved in the community – do it. Just don’t sit and back and do nothing!
As a community, we must also recognize that if there was one evil person living among us, there are more. We must not be silent, we must not hide behind our doors. We can no longer protect those who are breaking the law.
We must challenge our politicians and our government agencies to do more to protect their citizens. I urge you to write letters to county, state and federal officials. Tell them how much the life of Cpl. Ronil Singh meant to you. Tell them that you are tired of people not going to prison because we just don’t have room to take them. Tell them that you want our communities to be safer places.
We also must respect our law enforcement. Too many times they are criticized for what they do or how they handle a call. Children are being raised to not understand and respect officers so we are producing generations of “cop haters.” This must stop. Children need to know that police officers protect them, police officers make our communities better, police officers can be your friend…just as Ronil was to so many.
In the coming days and months we must be sympathetic and compassionate to the members of Newman Police Department. As Chief Randy Richardson said, they are a family and they lost a very important member of that family - the member who was the beacon of light in their work, who put a smile on their faces every day, the member who lived life to the very fullest and was so very proud to be a member of their department. I urge you to take the time to say hello to them, take the time to ask how they are, take the time to care.
These past two weeks I saw how our communities can come together and support one another. I saw how people rallied around our officers to let them know that they care. I saw how many people volunteered to make a difference.
Don’t stop now or a year from now…that is the least that we can do to honor Corporal Ronil Singh. We will survive, we will be stronger, we will be better, we will make a difference!