Two New York City police officers, Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora, were killed just weeks ago. They join the fallen Miosotis Familia, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos in our recent memory. Not only were all of them NYPD officers who died in the line of duty, but they were all ambushed by career criminals and murdered for their uniforms.

A police officer and their loved ones know that death could come at any time as the risk comes with the job. However, there have been several bad policies enacted and inflammatory rhetoric aimed at law enforcement in the past few years that have made these assassinations more likely.

Mayor Adams, who himself was a police officer, rising through the ranks to captain, indicated that he’d like the bodycam videos from January 21st to be made public if the families provide consent, so that everyone could view the horror of the assassination for themselves.

Whether or not the footage becomes public, perhaps it should be required viewing for all lawmakers, especially those that have demonized the very police that put their lives on the line to protect the public. Thanks to them, crime is headed in the wrong direction because criminals are given automatic get-out-of-jail-free cards, then promptly return to the streets to commit more crimes. We have seen this recently in much of the violence suffered by the Asian-American community.

This city elected an ex-cop last year because we saw that we were headed down the wrong track. While he may not be the perfect mayor, he has a much different outlook than the previous one regarding public safety. In our local area, we rejected the rhetoric of police defunders, abolitionists and haters, and re-elected a law-and-order council member. But there is more work for us to do.

This year, we have the chance to vote for state legislators from assembly to governor – people who could potentially repeal the disastrous bail reform that was sneaked into the budget bill in 2019 (only to be amended in 2020 in the wake of a crime wave). Our protectors do their best to protect us; it’s time for us to return the favor.

It is imperative that we pay close attention to candidate platforms during the June primaries and November general election seasons and show up to our poll sites with the goal of turning things around. The district lines have changed and the person who represented you previously may not any longer. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the simple act of voting could save lives in the future. Let’s not squander the opportunity. Get educated about the candidates and then get yourself out to the polls.