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Chester County Press

Editorial: The 152-second primer for who we are

03/19/2019 03:11PM ● By Richard Gaw
Every year for the past nine years, Police Chief Gerald Simpson of the Southern Chester County Regional Police Department – and before that, the New Garden Township Police Department – begins the department's annual awards and recognition ceremony with a video that he feels neatly frames the key words of the department's core values.

In years past, those in attendance at this event have seen the transference of those values onto short films, news stories and documents that capture the essence of Integrity, Justice, Duty and Human Life. On March 14, when the department bestowed its annual honors for stellar service in 2018, Simpson chose to showcase another word that is not found in the department's core values, but is worn in theory and in practice like a lapel on a police officer's uniform.

He then stood away from the podium, and with no introduction, a two-minute, thirty-two second video called “Courage” began to play.

Showing only the beautiful ethnicity of faces young and old, the video was narrated by its filmmaker, the image consultant David Brier:

When did we start getting so scared so easily, forgetting what it was like to stand up for what was simply the decent thing to do?

When did a punchline replace the ability and strength to stand up for what was right...what was right, and not the kind of right that blindly attacks anything different than us, but the kind of right that adds meaning and virtue to life, and adds truth to facts, and adds beauty to motion, and wisdom to knowledge?

When did recoiling back into ourselves replace the inclination to step forward, to challenge compromise, and to shoot down empty one liners?

There was a time when brilliance didn't frighten us but instead, invigorated us; when innovation wasn't intimidating, but instead, filled us with awe.

Courage isn't stupid or blind, or impetuous.

No. Courage? It's bold. It's uncompromising. It's alive. It's who we were before we forgot.

It's telling those who say different to take a hike, without an ounce of care...or a molecule of hate.


While Mr. Brier's words and images reflect the work done that is being performed selflessly – and courageously – by our law enforcement members every day, its intended reach knows no limitations, and who it reaches is not confined to a carefully-selected few. Of this, we are certain; this newspaper enjoys its envious position as the town crier of those who demonstrate courage, every day.

They come out of our law offices, where case loads are filled with the pleas of the undocumented, in the hopes that these attorneys can achieve miracles.

They come out of our schools, whose classrooms reach not only the student majority, but those who look up from the depths of their wilderness and see a teacher's extended hand, waiting for them.

They come out of our congregations, who are so entrenched in their ideals of decency and humanity that they stand up against the teachings of their own church.

They come out of our local mushroom farms, where industry leaders have empowered the once-undervalued and under-appreciated sector of their workforce.

They come out of our neighborhoods and homes and youth sports leagues and community centers, and out of our township meetings and borough halls.

Together, they have chosen boldness over safety, and with their actions, they are alive with brilliance and innovation.

Courage, they tell us, is an action verb, achieved daily, without compromise, without an ounce of care for what others may say of them, and without a molecule of hate.

For these actions, they fill us with awe.