My name is Demetrick Pennie. I am an eighteen-year veteran sergeant with the Dallas Police Department. I am also the President of the Dallas Fallen Officer Foundation and the Executive Director of the Texas Fallen Officer Foundation. Although, I hold no specific political affiliation, most of my views align with issues related to law enforcement, military veterans and the needs of those who are less fortunate. I am a strong advocate for education, philanthropy, community engagement, and support for law enforcement.
I grew up in inner-city of Houston, Texas during a time period when the proliferation of drugs, shooting violence, and gang-related crime was a normal way of life. As a youth being raised by my grandmother, I didn't have much growing up and there were seemingly no options for me in society, but I still wanted more. No one ever talked about going to college or enlisting in the military because those goals did not align with the communal beliefs of our generation. Additionally, in my neighborhood, there was a general distrust for police and it was socially unacceptable for people to talk to the police about crimes.
Ironically, a tragic personal experience changed many of my perspective on this ideology. At the age of 16, I witnessed my female cousin get shot and killed days before her wedding day. In the immediate aftermath, I saw my family's reluctance to cooperate with the police investigation; yet the police officers remained professional, conducted their investigation and eventually brought the assailant to justice. Needless to say, this experience had a profound impact on my life. Destined to someday be able to do the same for another family, I began to map out my quest to enter the law enforcement profession.
In 1995, I graduated from high school early and entered the United States Army as a 17 year old minor. While serving in the military, I attended college in my off-duty time and balance my life around my deployment schedule. In 1998, I earned an Associate Degree in Administration of Justice from Honolulu Community College. After my service term ended in 1999, I became a police officer for the City of Dallas. While working as a police officer, I earned two college degrees – graduating with honors including: a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences Degree with a focus in Criminal Justice from Midwestern State University, and a Masters' degree in Counseling from Prairie View A&M University. I recently completed my doctorate degree in Higher Education from Texas Tech University. I am also an adjunct college professor for two major universities specializing in social science doctrine such as: cultural diversity, ethics, and criminal justice. I know it sounds cliché, but I believe that "education is the key to success" and "community service is the cornerstone to social awareness."
I grew up listening to stories about the police and how they were oppressing us in the community, but after seeing the problem from the opposite side of the spectrum (drugs, robberies, murders); it became apparent to me why they had to be there. The conditions that we lived under were deplorable and they were the very condition that made me feel that I had no options in life. I understand the argument that not all police officers have good intentions and base on that theory, I urge police agencies to be more transparent in their investigations involving use of force and complaints of misconduct and to unequivocally denounce blatant misconduct and to eradicate those officers who do not belong in the profession because of illegal or immoral behavior. Likewise, I believe that individuals have a personal responsibility for their own actions and should be held accountable for violating the law. Overall, I believe that the law enforcement profession is saturated with heroes who are willing to sacrifice their own lives to protect the community. For this reason, I will not apologize for my stance in support of law enforcement nor will I condemn the actions of any officer acting in good faith under the objective reasonable standard for use of force as highlighted in Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 396 (1989)
Over the years, I have had the pleasure and privilege of developing friendships with police officers across the nation; many of whom have become like brothers to me. Unfortunately, as result of the dangers associated with the job, I have lost many of those same brothers in the line of duty. I have personally witnessed the pain of their survivors and this is why I am fighting to prevent any other family from enduring this pain. Without our law enforcement professionals there would be anarchy and destruction in society, a resolve that law abiding citizens of the nation cannot and should not tolerate.
The time to fight for police is now and I am your voice!
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