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With blessing to support Schumachers, Todd shows compassionate leadership

FARGO -- Leadership is sometimes loud, sometimes quiet. Sometimes preening, sometimes subtle. Sometimes self-important, sometimes generous. Fargo police Chief David Todd showed leadership Sunday that was quiet, subtle and remarkably generous. And...

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Mike McFeely

FARGO -- Leadership is sometimes loud, sometimes quiet.

Sometimes preening, sometimes subtle.

Sometimes self-important, sometimes generous.

Fargo police Chief David Todd showed leadership Sunday that was quiet, subtle and remarkably generous.

And it is important.

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When Todd issued a statement on Facebook urging the community to support the wife and son of the murderer of Officer Jason Moszer, he did something that might change their lives positively for a long time.

"I want our community to know that although my focus and the focus of my command staff needs to be on the Moszer family and our officers right now," Todd wrote, "perhaps this is a time the community can reach out to Mrs. Schumacher and her son and look for ways to help them. In our mission To Protect and Serve, the men and women of the Fargo Police Department would also appreciate seeing that happen.

"My faith and the mission I've sworn to uphold -- tells me it's the right thing to do."

This is huge.

It removes a burden from those wanting to help Michelle Schumacher and her family because Todd gave a "blessing," so to speak, for anybody wanting to aid the Schumachers to do so.

Why is his blessing important?

The Schumacher family and those who are trying to find a way to help them had been very wary about going public with their needs. They have been afraid that if they ask for help, there will be a backlash from the community because Michelle's husband, Marcus, is alleged to have shot and killed Moszer.

The Schumachers are hurting, too. They, too, are victims. Todd acknowledged that.

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Michelle Schumacher's sister, Juliane Hegle of New Hampshire, emailed me Sunday before Todd made his Facebook post and said:

"On behalf of my family, I would like to thank you for your kind and sensitive piece on the 'other family' affected by last week's tragedy. Our hearts are broken for the family of Officer Moszer. We struggle with how to express our anguish for his family without interfering with their healing process, not knowing whether our reaching out would cause more pain than comfort. That's something that we are seeking counsel on.

"We understand how upsetting it is to so many people that an amazing person who chose a career of protecting the public would be lost in this way. Officer Moszer's family deserves the support of the community. It's important for the family's healing and for the community's healing.

"Just as the Moszer family did not ask for this tragedy, the same is true of the Schumacher family. Many people have stepped forward to offer support, for which the family is grateful. What I would ask for the community to consider is that the pain is real and immense for both families. While you grieve for Officer Moszer and support his family, I ask that you have compassion for the Schumacher family."

Todd's words will allow the Schumacher family to seek some help. It will allow them to come out of the shadows and let people know that they, too, are hurting.

This in no way diminishes the support we should show for the Moszer family. They will always get the most sympathy, attention and support from our community. Officer Moszer lost his life in the line of duty and that is a tragedy that cannot be put into words.

But as Todd wrote, "... I also think of Mrs. Schumacher and her son who desperately called 911 asking for our help and protection from a deranged and dangerous person who was causing them to be in fear of losing their lives. They were the victims we were initially responding to -- in order to protect them from a dangerous armed person."

Todd has allowed the Schumachers to move forward the best they can, with the support of the people in our community who matter most in this situation, other than the Moszer family -- the Fargo Police Department.

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The importance of that cannot be overstated.

Todd said on my 970 WDAY radio show Monday morning that he'd thought about publicly supporting the Schumachers for a few days, but the timing of any announcement had to be perfect. Emotions were too raw and the focus needed to remain on the Moszers. Sunday was the correct time.

Chief Todd didn't have to do what he did. He could have remained silent and the community wouldn't have quite known how to react to the Schumachers. Instead, he gave them his all-important support.

It took a man to do that.

It took leadership.

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