Police department still needs scrutiny

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 1, 2006

To the Editor:

Apparently in Selma you can schedule a town hall meeting about crime, provide little or no publicity about the meeting, and when attendance is far below the last town hall meeting, the organizers can claim the poor attendance demonstrates the citizens are satisfied with whatever successful or unsuccessful efforts are being made to solve the crime problem in Selma as was proclaimed last week on a local radio talk show.

The last well attended town hall meeting in Selma was on April 17, 2006 which was preceded by numerous front page articles about violent criminal activity in Selma, which April meeting was preceded by numerous local newspaper editorials, and which April meeting was preceded by widespread newspaper and radio reports of the upcoming April 17th meeting.

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There were no newspaper reports or newspaper advertising of the upcoming July 25, 2006 town hall meeting called to discuss what the task force has been doing for the past five months.

I don’t directly fault the newspaper.

It is the responsibility of the organizers to advertise the meetings they schedule.

Simply stated, there was no publicity for the July 25th town hall meeting comparable to what preceded the April 17th meeting.

City leaders in 2003 insisted that the police department needed an independent evaluation.

Why has it taken three years and numerous meetings by two different crime task forces and we still don’t have an evaluation of the Selma Police Department?

and while on the subject, who will conduct the evaluation; and, as part of the evaluation, will they interview the large number of veteran captains, lieutenants, and sergeants who have left or who are leaving the SPD?

I applaud the District Attorney’s comments at the July 25th town hall meeting where he bluntly stated that we have a gang problem in Selma.

I applaud the efforts by the well run Sheriff’s Department, the State/County Drug Task Force, and the successful efforts by our District Judge to attack crime at the juvenile level.

I also applaud those members of the Selma Police Department who are trying their best under poor supervision to do their job, however, just this past Saturday, July 30th, there was another violent felony assault and robbery of a female citizen emerging from a sandwich shop on West Dallas in broad daylight and on the same day a felony robbery of a well known business on Highland Avenue.

Why do local thugs apparently believe they can rob our local citizens in daylight and not have to worry about being caught?

Thankfully some of the Saturday suspects were reportedly caught, however, if an honest and independent evaluation of the SPD is not soon forthcoming, and if the results are not fully disclosed as with the recent financial audit, and if any recommended or needed changes are not forthcoming, then the changes will have to come in the next city election.

Kincey Green