A Message from Sacramento Sheriff Deputy
Salvatore “Sal” Vitale
As a Peace Officer it is not my place to form political judgment and comment publicly on affairs which are in dispute by the citizens of this great nation. Providing political respite for events which I know little or nothing about is neither professional nor responsible. As a paid employee of the people working in this great nation, to do so would be an ethical failure. Commenting on what I do know however, is entirely within my realm and to remain silent is a failure of equal proportions.
Inherently, Peace Officers across this nation are called to serve from within themselves via a virtuous soul dedicated to service. Defining the essence of one who ventures unknown dangers on behalf of others is inexplicable. Much like the professional soldier, common recognition of a greater purpose perpetuates the inner lining of motivation. Or, as it was put to me in the Academy over thirteen years ago:
“You can’t do this job without that natural fire which burns within your belly”
While police work is one of the last true professions in a country of bountiful opportunities, it is also a selfless, thankless job which most American’s know almost nothing about. Peace officers are also citizens of this nation and are composed infinitely of humanity. We do not require appreciation to do our job as this pride blooms from within by serving something greater than ourselves. Appreciation is cherished when available yet not necessary to fuel a moral, warrior resolve.
Peace officers respond to all emergencies, even where we are wanted least. Those who condemn us are often the first to call upon us and plead for our assistance. We are glad to provide the service and any “thank you” received is tertiary at best as it is not required to summon our aid. Peace officers often find themselves in the middle of a hostile battlefield where the enemy is unknown and only fractions of a second are available for decision making. As an experienced supervisor stated to me today:
“You are talking one second and fighting the next. It all happens in the blink of an eye.”
In recent months, my life and the life of my beloved partners has been increasingly threatened. As we do our jobs we continue to stare down the expanding barrel of a gun, seemingly filled with bullets carrying our names upon them. As my eyes see it, violence against peace officers has increased tenfold and a small adversarial fringe group continuously baits us into a battle which cannot possibly end. I have chosen to accept this challenge and respond the best way I know how.
At nearly the same time two New York Police Department officers were assassinated in their parked patrol vehicle on December 20th, 2014, I was in Uniform on the other side of the country giving Christmas presents to a broken, downtrodden family. The plan started with striking a promise to bring gifts to one family I had encountered during a disturbance. As this country is filled with generous souls, word spread via family members and people I do not know contributed what little they had to assist those less fortunate.
More money than I ever expected or requested came rapidly and continued to flow from those great people who truly recognized the need for assisting others. I personally know none of the people who contributed, nor did those contributing know the family in need. Two amazing women put the plan together on a whim and I am eternally grateful for the joy my Wife and her Cousin brought to the people of our communities.
As with all great acts of charity, the plan grew. Since I was scheduled to work Christmas Day this year, I brought several more wrapped toys and gifts and presented them to my partners in briefing for distribution to the public. Eager Peace Officers carried the wrapped presents with them and they were distributed to children across our area during calls for service. This was not a political move by our Department, nor was the plan approved by our leadership. It was simply humanity giving to humanity.
We have many more gifts to give and I am confident by Christmas many more will be made available to those who possess much less. Peace Officers do not despise the public, nor do they turn a blind eye to those less fortunate. We desire greatly for friends, family and community members to live their lives in peace. Removing the burden of violent criminals who pathetically prey upon those who are perceived to have “more” is our primary function. Productivity cannot survive while the threat of violence looms over a great people. Lives matter, it is true. People matter. And that is why we are here and no matter what happens; I shall never stop loving the communities I serve.
This is a private letter to those whom I consider my closest friends and family. Pictures of these events are attached so we may all see the joy of peace during a blessed season and perhaps divert somber thoughts, temporary as they may be. I desire no fame, no glory, and no thanks. It is truly I who must thank all of you for continued patriotism, ethical progression and hard work during a difficult age.
Keep faith in your communities and fellow man regardless of race, creed, sex, or religion as our forefathers intended. Give no quarter to those who threaten our freedom and seek vengeance as an answer for self-induced misery. Vengeance is reprehensible to a lawful, civilized, independent nation and we shall continue to serve under darkening skies.
It matters not to me who you are. If you need help and I recognize it I shall always do as I can. If I do not recognize it, reach out to me and I will serve until death. We all shall. May God bless all of you and this distinguished nation of free people.