Investigation should continue until final conclusion is reached
I preface this column with an explanation of my deep convictions. No one respects law enforcement officers anymore than I do. One of my first public jobs was for the Department of Public Safety in Montgomery, Alabama. Later, I became a charter member of the Alabama State Trooper Cadets. We attended and trained with enforcement officers at the Alabama State Trooper School on Gunter AFB. I have respect and empathy for those challenged with serving and protecting the public.
It is a public trust not to be flaunted or abused. Being responsible for enforcing the law in order to maintain a civil society is no easy task. And, unfortunately some pay scales aren’t compensatory with the danger and abuse encountered by our fine policemen and women. Having said all that, money going astray from the evident safe at the Selma Police Department is disturbing. It is an unjust reflection on the entire department due to the actions of one or more individuals.
Just as disturbing as the money coming up missing and no one stepping forward with an explanation as to who or what happened to it, is the attitude that nothing can be done about it. According to the paper last week, Mayor Evans and City Attorney Nunn agree that we should just forget it and go on about business as if nothing happened. Someone was quoted as saying “they would just plead the 5th.”
I think to be fair to the citizens of Selma and the Police Department; those with access should be questioned under oath and given an opportunity to explain what happened to the money. In grade school when something went astray and no one would come forward, usually the entire class had to suffer the consequences whether it be losing recess or staying after school until someone took responsibility for their actions.
It seems to me that just throwing up your hands and saying we can’t find out or do anything about this isn’t sending the right message. After all, these are the men and women the community look up to and depend upon for their well-being and safety. If this is allowed to slip by, how can the public place any trust in the administration or the department? What are the chances it might not even be a policeman at fault?
It just seems unfair to allow the shadow of suspicion continue to exist tarnishing the entire Police Department. At least vigilantly continue to pursue those responsible.
James G. Smith