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Letter from MIT police chief John DiFava: Protecting and serving at a time of great pain

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The following letter was sent to the MIT community today by MIT Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety John DiFava.

To the members of the MIT community,

In my 46 years of policing, I have seen the good and bad, the brave and cowardly, but what we saw in Minneapolis last week with the brutal killing of George Floyd left me shaken and angry. It breaks my heart to see such cruel violence against another human being, and to know the shame it casts on the vast majority of law enforcement officers who are trying to do a good job.

Like everyone in our community, our officers are struggling to process this terrible and senseless killing. We have great respect for the peaceful protests that have followed, and we know that this tragic event is one of many injustices African Americans have suffered at the hands of police over time. We support the need for change.  

Last week, President Reif described MIT as “a community where we aspire always to treat one another with sympathy, humility, decency, respect and kindness.” Those values — and a culture built on trust, diversity, fairness and inclusion — are ingrained in everything we do at MITPD. We continually make efforts to self-assess and to listen, to better understand and anticipate the needs of those we serve and protect. And from new recruits to veteran officers, we train constantly to build and reinforce the habits and values of good policing.

I know I speak for every officer in our department when I say that we stand together with the MIT community on the side of justice and human decency. Our job — one we take very seriously — is to keep our community safe. That means every member of our community, without exception and with absolute respect for the dignity of all.

As we start the gradual process of coming back to campus, I am eager to continue working with student, staff and faculty leaders to make sure our community is a safe and welcoming place, always, for all the people of MIT.


John DiFava

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