Respect survivors, stop dissemination of misinformation, and join the fight to bring home our missing

A Message from Chief of Police Michael McGrath

May 6, 2013 is now an historic date for our community and the Division of Police. Three survivors of heinous crimes were rescued, and a suspect arrested.

I want to take this opportunity to thank those investigators, detectives, police officers, and community groups who worked to ensure the safe return of Amanda, Gina, and Michelle. Members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Division of Police, and the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office worked together to investigate every tip, every lead, and every rumor. Working with the families, Community Relations and volunteers, law enforcement officers worked these cases thoroughly throughout these many years.

The events of May 6 were the result of the strength and bravery of Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight and Gina DeJesus; the residents of Seymour Avenue who rose to the occasion and assisted with the rescue; and the swift and decisive actions of the Division of Police. I also want to thank those residents who came forward and responded to the cries for help.

The future of Cleveland and the hope of our nation are dependent upon this type of strong bond between local, state, and federal law enforcement and the communities we have sworn to protect. Unfortunately, even in these times when the end results are so amazing, there are those who seek only to belittle Cleveland Police officers and further harm the victims.

As a 40 year law enforcement officer, I am saddened by the actions of those few in our community who have used this miracle as a vehicle for their own self-serving agendas. The disclosure of sensitive information and details of these horrendous crimes only further victimize three young women. The criticism of law enforcement efforts is disheartening. The dissemination of misinformation erodes the critical relationship between law enforcement and community.

The inference of malfeasance by the Division of Police is arbitrary and disingenuous. It is an affront to the efforts of the tremendous men and women of the FBI, the Division of Police, and the Sheriff’s Office who put their heart and soul into their work every day.

After watching the events of the week unfold, I can only surmise that good news does not sell as well as controversial news. It is an unfortunate commentary on our culture which detracts from what is really important: the rescue…AND the future of these brave women.

I revel in the knowledge that the members of law enforcement and our community fought, and ultimately won, one battle to save three women from evil. On behalf of the men and women of the Division of Police, I reaffirm our commitment to protect and serve our citizens from those who are hell-bent on stealing our freedoms. The fight will not end until all of the missing individuals of our community are returned safely.