Rev. Robert Goolsby, of St. Thomas Episcopal Church, is also the son of a retired police chief.
Editor's Note: This letter was addressed to Sheriff Rick Staly and was then submitted to the Palm Coast Observer by the author.
by: Robert Goolsby
Rector, St. Thomas Episcopal Church
On Wednesday, June 3 a demonstration of peaceful protest was organized in Palm Coast at Belle Terre Parkway and Palm Coast Parkway. I was honored to participate in this demonstration with local clergy and residents to express our grief over the senseless and violent death of George Floyd, and many other African American citizens before him, and of police brutality in general.
As the son of a retired police chief, I realize most police officers dutifully carry out their public service as conscientious professionals. On the day of the protest, your officers were a perfect example of this kind of service.
I wish to express my appreciation to you sheriff, and the Flagler County Sheriff’s Deputies for your incredible show of support. The deputies on scene asked the organizers how the officers could best serve them, and they helped marchers safely navigate the busy streets. Officers, including Sgt. Lutz whom I greeted as he carried cases of bottled water toward the gathered demonstrators, were present to help in any way they could. They smiled and conversed with many people and won the support and respect of the protesters. My heart is full even as I write this and recall that day.
Your ethos as delineated in the statement released by the Sheriff’s Office — “We have always and will continue to serve this community with integrity and respect. Policing should not be policing the community but instead it should be policing with the community, which is the model we use in Flagler County” — was evident.
You have delivered on this promise, and I heartily thank you on behalf of myself and of those I marched alongside. Thank you for the professionalism you instill in your department. Thank you for serving and protecting the people of Flagler County.
Thank you for supporting our right to peacefully protest and for protecting us as we did so.
The Rev. Canon Robert P. Goolsby is rector of St. Thomas Episcopal Church, at 5400 Belle Terre Parkway.