City officials will hold public safety meeting Thursday

Published 11:21 pm Tuesday, May 8, 2018

By Adam Dodson
The Selma Times-Journal

Selma City Ward 8 councilman and Public Safety Committee chairman Michael Johnson, along with other city officials, will host a public safety meeting open to the residents of Selma on Thursday, May 10 to address growing concerns over crime. It will begin at 6 p.m. at the George P. Evans Building.

The meeting will serve as an opportunity for community members to voice their worries and opinions directly with local government officials and law enforcement leaders. According to Johnson, he wants residents to express problems to somebody who is in a position to do something about it.

Email newsletter signup

Partnered with Johnson for the meeting, Mayor Darrio Melton, Selma Police Chief Spencer Collier, along with other city council members, judges and community leaders.
The meeting comes in response to residents’ concerns over the state of the city and so officials, officers and the public can figure out how to work together.

According to Johnson and Melton, the meeting is not to put blame on anybody, but to try to establish better terms between different entities.
Johnson points out that crime in Selma goes well beyond the scope of the police department, who he believes are trying their hardest for what they are given.

According to Melton, Selma currently has 51 officers in the police department for a town of around 19,000 people.

“I truly believe the police officers are doing the best they can,” Johnson said. “We all need to bind together and understand its not just the police. Those who come will figure out what is going on first hand from us rather than hearing about it from the street committee.”

For the public figures, know that transparency is key for issues the public interest in, such as the city’s crime problem. Rather than avoiding accountability, Melton is interested in holding all groups responsible focus on what they could do to achieve their common goal of instilling residents with a calmer peace of mind.

“Public safety is bigger than just the police department. It is a community effort,” Melton said. “I think what has happened is all of the responsibility is put on the backs of the police department. In reality, this is not fair to them. I think it is important for everyone to take their responsibility when it comes to public safety. Crime does not originate in the police department.”

The goal is to get residents, parents, local government and law enforcement all on the same page, which is easier said than done, according to Johnson.

“I don’t like false accusations. We want to get everybody up to date.”