Editorial: Sheriff Alex Villanueva is out but leaves behind a deeply damaged department
Jill Burks can’t tell you how many times her young sons have run into a man, who they assumed was a friend or neighbor, in some parking lot or convenience store but in fact was a “bad guy,” and when they ran crying to Mom, Mom would cry because they would have to tell her.
The problem with that scenario is that Mom didn’t know the man and didn’t know what he was doing at the time.
If you’re a regular reader of the Salisbury Reporter, you already know the Salisbury Police Department is at a crossroads.
As a small, small town, it’s been here for thousands of years. It’s going to be here for even longer, probably.
Our town has one of the highest crime rates in the state, with some of the largest numbers of crimes reported, and of violent crime in the county, and yet, the community remains apathetic toward its police department.
The reason the community is so apathetic is that the community’s biggest concern is how the police operate. They have to figure out which way to go.
Since they don’t have money to fund a long-term solution, or to fund a solution like a citizen review board, the police have to make their decisions on day-to-day operations based on the assumption that they won’t be investigated. The police are not protected.
They will not be investigated in any way. They are not protected. And the only way the community can protect itself is by electing someone who will change the department the way the community wants it to change.
What else does the community do? Well, like most small towns, people watch the police show. They watch the police arrest on video.
But the reality is we watch more than we watch the police show. We watch the police in action. We watch the arrests, we watch the investigations, we watch the interviews, we watch the trials and we watch the court cases.
If anyone, anyone, has ever wondered where all this information comes from, well, in this town, information has to come from somewhere.
That’s why you have the police station, the police station being the only local gathering point for information.
The community watches the police station on a regular basis