Chief Brock’s retirement is a loss for Selma

Published 3:46 pm Saturday, December 17, 2016

There is a saying that is becoming more and more popular expressing the truism, “elections have consequences.” It seems to be playing out in Selma with the asked retirement of Chief Brock. I recall a promise made before the election indicating Chief Brock’s job was safe. However, that was before and this is after, and elections do have consequences.

I have been in and out of the police department for the last several months profiling employees with the department. My observations have been a department loaded with trained, dedicated and professional men and women. It is very true the crime rate in Selma is too high. Is this an indictment of the police department? Or, is it in fact, an indictment of some residents of Selma? I believe it to be the latter. The police department appears to be doing all within their power to bring the numbers down with the amount of personnel they have. It is no secret the police department is understaffed, and has been for a long time. Due to this shortage of personnel, they are forced to be a reactive department rather than proactive. If you are to reduce crime, it will take a proactive approach requiring more police officers.

Our former police chief, Chief William Riley, was a very capable chief, and overall did a good job in my opinion. Based on my conversation with him, he too was frustrated with not being able to bring the numbers down. It is probably one of the reasons he decided to leave here. In comes Chief Brock, a 30 year veteran of the department, and in my opinion, another very capable chief. He is liked and respected by all the officers I have spoken to in the department. The problem in Selma is not the police department, it lies with some of the residents here. Changing the entire police department out will not solve the problem unless the number of police are increased or there is a change in the behavior of those breaking the laws. Selma needs to take a good look at itself in the mirror.

The high crime rate is much like the trash problem here. Selma has a problem with people throwing trash down on the streets and byways.

The trash doesn’t get there on its own, it is placed by people. Clean it up Selma if you want to attract attention and tourism.

The impetus of the clean-up effort here should be on those who throw it out, not on non-offenders and city workers. No one I know of wants to visit a trashy town. We can lay no claims to being a low crime or clean city.

In my opinion, there are several really good candidates for chief, both men and women, already serving in our police department. I would hope one of those qualified here would be given the opportunity to serve as the next chief.

When possible, promoting from within is always healthy. I am a firm believer that wisdom comes with age, however, that is not to say it is not possible in youth. Hopefully, after the disruption of losing another chief, we will see some wisdom used in selecting a new chief.

The departure of Chief Riley and the retirement of Chief Brock can only be seen as Selma’s loss. At least, that’s the way I see it.