Published on February 01, 2022
February brings us Black History Month and I couldn’t help but think about Charles McGee who died on January 16, 2022, at the age of 102. Charles McGee saw a lot during the century (plus) he spent on this planet. McGee left the University of Illinois to join the Tuskegee Airman after America entered World War II. McGee had to overcome discrimination to achieve his dream of becoming a pilot. During an interview with the Associated Press in 1995, McGee stated “You could say that one of the things we were fighting for was equality. Equality of opportunity. We knew we had the same skills or better.”
After graduating from flight school, McGee joined the 332nd Fighter Group known as the Red Tails. He flew 136 missions over Europe. After World War II, McGee remained in the Air Force and served for 30 years. McGee flew combat missions in World War II, the Korean war, and the Vietnam war. McGee’s 409 aerial fighter combat missions in three wars remains a record today. McGee received a standing ovation from members of Congress when introduced by President Trump during the State of the Union address. McGee retired as a colonel in the Air Force in 1973.
McGee wrote “We dreamed of being pilots as boys but were told it was not possible. Through our faith and determination, we overcame enormous obstacles. This is a lesson that all young people need to hear. I salute this great man who broke down racial barriers and dedicated 30 years of his life serving his country during three wars. America needs more men like Colonel McGee. May he rest in peace. You can read more about Colonel McGee on the website for the National Aviation Hall of Fame.
Yesterday, I read a report that ranked Coral Springs as the 13th safest city in the nation based on the cost of crime. MoneyGeek came up with the ranking based on the change in the cost of crime from 2019 to 2020. Coral Springs also made the list of Florida’s 50 Safest Cities of 2021, a report put together by SafeWise, which uses FBI Uniform Crime Reporting and the U.S. Census Bureau to find the per capita crime rates. Although I was happy to read this news, I recognize that there is much more work to be done to keep our city safe. We recently had some high-profile violent crimes that have rightfully received media attention, as well as the attention of many of our residents. I assure you that I, and the members of our department, are not satisfied with where we are. We will continue to do everything in our power to stop violent crime in our community. I know that is a lofty goal and may not be achievable, but in the words of Coach Vince Lombardi “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence. You can help us catch excellence by Making a Call, and Making a Difference,” when you see suspicious activity.
Lastly, as February rolls around my thoughts are never about Cupid, chocolate candies or Valentine’s Day cards. My thoughts are always with our residents who were affected by the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, especially those families who lost loved ones on February 14, 2018. There is no room in my heart for Valentine celebrations, only resentment for the evil man who shattered our community four years ago. I am often inspired by the families who continue to push for positive change out of a horrible tragedy.
We have covered a lot of ground in the last four years. We made changes that have made our schools, and our community safer, but there is more work to be done. I pray that this is the year we achieve interoperability with our radio/dispatch systems. I hope all the stakeholders never forget how they felt on February 14, 2018, and come together in a cooperative manner to resolve radio interoperability.
Please stay connected to our department through Facebook, Twitter (@CoralSpringsPolice) and NextDoor.com to learn about crime trends, upcoming events, road closures and other information affecting our community. If you have not already, please connect with me on Facebook @ChiefParry.
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