The departing chief of the Kenosha Police Department took subtle shots at critics in a farewell message Tuesday following a chaotic year that saw protests and unrest in the Wisconsin city following the police shooting of Jacob Blake last summer.
In a lengthy Facebook post, Chief Daniel Miskinis, who is retiring after nearly 37 years in law enforcement, didn't mention the shooting or the unrest that followed but touted steps his department has taken in the last year to "to make sure we are on the correct path and that we continue to evolve and refine our skill sets."
He cited updates to the department's use of force policy, a review and broadening of "outdated" racial profiling, a more encompassing anti-bias policy as well as new policies for hate crime investigations.
At the end of the message, he also stressed that society as a whole "must own our situation" before seeming to call out critics and rioters who contributed to the violence in the aftermath.
"We must face down real and perceived threats and we must call out the pretenders," Miskinis said. "Actual effort and concrete commitment is required. We must guard against group-think and mob action and we must return to individual responsibility."
Blake was shot and paralyzed on Aug. 23 by Kenosha officer Rusty Sheskey during a domestic incident call. Sheskey and two other Kenosha officers were trying to arrest Blake on an outstanding warrant when a pocketknife fell from his pants during a scuffle.
Blake was shot as he was walking back to an SUV with his two children inside. He was paralyzed from the waist down. Video footage of the shooting went viral and prompted days of violent unrest in which looting occurred and two people were killed by Kyle Rittenhouse.
Prosecutors declined to charged Sheskey and he returned to duty in March. In a separate statement on Tuesday, Miskinis chided critics about his refusing to terminate the officer.
"We are always open to constructive communication; however, we cannot effectively communicate with those that seek a spotlight to create and further facilitate a false narrative," he said.
In Tuesday's message, he further talked about efforts to increase the "perception of police legitimacy" amid a reckoning over race and policing.
"Our focus is not just on community relations, it is also on violence reduction. The fewer the instances of violence on our streets and in our homes the lesser the chances an officer is greeted with violence and must react," he said. "We work with many partners at addressing violence, it may be seen as the job of the police; however, it is the responsibility of all. Law enforcement cannot tackle violence alone; there must be an effort from the public to stop the violence."
"Those who teach that violence is acceptable must stop," Miskinis added. "Clergy, parents, teachers, friends, politicians, activists...all must be part of the solution."