Police Chief Farrow

Standing Against Hate and Fear: An Open Letter from Chief Joe Farrow

Standing Against Hate and Fear: An Open Letter from Chief Joe Farrow

When I find myself alone in quiet reflection, it is music that provides me solace and insight through much of my life. The right tone with the right lyrics can transform me and bring my inner thoughts to life. This morning I found myself outside in my yard letting my dogs play. I watched them as they approached their morning without a care in the world. Just excited to be in the yard chasing after butterflies which they never catch.

For me, much is on my mind. As a Japanese American, or for that matter, just a guy who really cares, I am saddened by what I have experienced, seen and heard about the rising incidents of physical and verbal attacks on our Asian communities. It became personal when my 90 year old mother told me she is worried to leave the house and has accepted the reality that being confined to her home is the only way to secure her safety. Lost in this self-confinement are her walks through the park, and the simple pleasures she has come to enjoy in her elder years.

In the background, one of my favorite songs, The Sound of Silence, fills my ears and mind. “Hear my words so I might teach you, take my arms so I might reach you.” Many decades ago, two young musicians wrote a song about our collective silence. “People talking without speaking, people hearing without listening...no one dare disturb the sound of silence.”

While a sad commentary, let me tell you why I so cherish my opportunity to work at UC Davis. It is simply because as a community, we do listen, we do talk and we do care. We break the silence. I believe deeply that all of us are wounded by not just the harm directed at our Asian community members, but equally as well by the deep rooted and historical injustices that surround all of us. The UC Davis Principles of Community stand not just as a reminder of who we are but more importantly a pledge to our fellow community members that we all stand together and that our collective life experiences and our wisdom can, and are, changing the narrative.

I know that I myself need to do more to create this more inclusive, more perfect world. This is especially true as it relates to policing. At the UC Davis Police Department, it’s our mission to make sure everyone feels safe and welcome on campus. While I desire a world where my mom can safely walk to the park, I envision a world where everyone can walk in the same park without fear stemming from past or current injustices, while also trying to contain and defeat the evil that unfortunately still exists in our world.


Joseph Farrow
UC Davis Chief of Police

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