Mr. Mayor, please sign the damn contract

Published 5:27 pm Tuesday, September 28, 2021

By Dennis Palmer

To say “enough is enough” would be an understatement as it relates to crime in Selma. This newspaper has had to write, yet again, about another senseless murder of a Selma teenager, in broad daylight no less.

While details are scarce at this point, according to the Selma PD, Michael Stiles was sitting in a car near the intersection of J.L. Chestnut Blvd. and King Street and was shot to death. His murder is the second in just the last 10 days, and the 17th of the year. If the “murder light” near city hall were still functioning, it would have had to have the bulb changed by now. Our intention is not to make light of the situation, but we’re mad as hell and you should be too. One murder is one too many, and through nine months of this year we’ve had 17. If the trend continues, we’ll finish the year with 23 murders. Who are the next 6 to die? Will it be you? One of your family members or friends? We certainly hope not, but the evidence is compelling that it’s going to continue until something changes.

One thing that can change, but for some reason is stuck in limbo, is the installation of a camera system that will help monitor high crime areas and assist police officers with solving crimes when they happen, and likely deter criminals before they commit a crime.

The camera system contract, which was recently approved by a majority of the city council, is languishing on the mayor’s desk, unsigned for some reason and that leaves us scratching our collective heads.

The new system, SkyCop, which we agree was the better solution the council considered, and is also being purchased from a local business, Selcom, not only assists law enforcement with solving crimes, but will also be a deterrent to crime happening. After all, who would be stupid enough to commit a crime when you know you’re being filmed? And if you are stupid enough to commit a crime, and even stupider to commit it while you know you’re being filmed, you deserve to be in prison. 

Lastly, we all know Mayor James Perkins, Jr. was not in favor of the system that the city council approved. We’ve documented his feelings about that in prior editions, but regardless of whether he personally approves of the system chosen is irrelevant. He is obligated by state law to sign it. What is he waiting on? Is he just trying to be punitive in response to the city council not agreeing with him? We would certainly hope that is not the reason, because if it is, it’s not a good look for him, especially so when you consider a potential location being strongly considered for one of the cameras was – you guessed it – the intersection of J.L. Chestnut Blvd. and King Street – the very location where Michael Stiles was murdered Monday.

Mr. Mayor, the city council has approved the contract. We implore you to put your personal feelings aside, regardless of how passionate they are, and sign the contract. As we said in the beginning, enough is enough. Sign the damn