Today, Sandy Roberson’s campaign released a public safety plan that shows he has little knowledge of government and how it supports public safety. There are serious concerns members of our city have when it comes to safety and security. The plan released today falls short and here are the reasons why:
1. According to experts and numerous studies, hiring more police officers can lead to a reduction in crime; however, a more prudent approach, according to research, is the more effective management of police officers and stronger community-policing initiatives. Even their combined impact, though, accounts for only a fraction of the documented reductions.
2. Research has shown that adding more attention to crime-prone areas is effective. However, this can be done with managing existing staff in beats that need the greatest coverage.
3. Policing equipment needs are ongoing, the issues are how do we pay for them and what is the highest priority. The Rocky Mount Council approved new equipment to have our own lab for bullet shell testing; they also have place shot spotters in strategic places around the city to help them better pinpoint where gunfire is coming from in a designated area.
4. In order to build strong bonds, you have to be engaged with the city. Our police department is engaged and are forming new alliances. Yet, there remains a feeling among citizens that police are not a part of the communities they serve. How engaged is candidate Roberson in the city’s various communities? Beyond recent engagement that came after his announcement to run for mayor, what has he done to forge relationships in any community in Rocky Mount?
5. What training does candidate Roberson have to be effective in evaluating police training models? Currently, the police department has a number of ways it gathers community input: citizen’s police academy, community-policing initiatives (Coffee With A Cop), officers attending community meetings, etc.
6. The City is currently in the process of assessing the salaries and job descriptions of the Police Department and the entire city.
7. Creating jobs is more than a novel idea, it’s needed; but what is the role of the Mayor in that process? Besides, I thought that candidate Roberson’s first priority was jobs. Now, he is saying his first priority is crime. Which is it? We need a mayor who is clear what the priorities are; but, we can only have that from a person who knows the City. In order to do that, one must know the citizens. Additionally, the Mayor has to have Council support to move on the office’s priorities.
8. What candidate Roberson suggests here can be done; but, ultimately, these programs face funding and marketing issues.
9. The relationship we have with Sheriffs Atkinson and Stone are solid relationships and they (the Sheriffs) are already doing fantastic jobs in combating gun violence, drugs, and a number of other pressing issues.
“Healing racial and county-line issues” is a great soundbite; but, we have heard this before from previous candidates who became mayor. And yet, we are still talking about the same problems. That’s because soundbites have and always will lack sincerity. I will be the Mayor committed to citizens because I have always been committed to the people. I didn’t start when I decided to run for political office. In two weeks I will release our citizen-driven plan.