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Aug 21

I Back the Blue, How 'Bout You?

Posted on August 21, 2015 at 4:00 PM by Darren Musselwhite

With the current climate and disturbing chain of events in our country regarding the scrutinization of police departments, I think it is my obligation to the people of Southaven to communicate some facts and philosophy.

First, the success of any city starts and ends with public safety.  If you do not have public safety, then you have nothing and the rest of your priorities will be unattainable.   

Most of us have been guilty at one time or another of expressing our dissatisfaction when we received a speeding ticket or ticket for another violation that we consider "minor".  The most common comments that I hear from citizens are:
  • "Don't your officers have something better to do?" 
  • "Shouldn't your officers be spending their time stopping more serious crimes?"
  • "Your officer should have been more friendly.  I didn't like his/her attitude."
Although I respect and listen to all opinions and acknowledge that we can always improve all of our operations, I think it is important to share complete information that may shed a different light on public perception.  Many people may not know that our Police Department has different divisions with different responsibilities.  Traffic officers, for example, are assigned to specific duties with traffic control.  These officers do not make the laws and ordinances of the City, but just enforce them.  It is not their role to pick and choose which laws they enforce, they enforce all of them because it is their job. Also, many times when our Police respond, it is because another citizen has expressed a concern.  That speeding ticket may seem minor at first thought, but would you think it is minor if that person's speed caused an accident that killed or injured your child, parent, sibling, other relative, or friend?  Are traffic stops an annoyance if it helps stop a drug dealer from destroying the life of one of our teenagers? 

Furthermore, how many of us have a job that can go from routine to life-threatening within seconds at any given time?  They do not have the luxury of hindsight as they must make quick-second decisions to save lives.  Can you imagine the mental toughness and attitude needed to cope with this challenge?  Our Police truly put their lives on the line for us daily, and without them, life as we know it would not exist.

Finally, I would caution everyone about forming decisions with partial facts or inaccurate information that is circulated by some media sources and public dialogue.  There are many times that police departments cannot respond publicly until investigations have been completed.  Some view this as an admission of wrongdoing, which is simply not true.  The Southaven Police Department and the City of Southaven, in general, value professionalism and make decisions based on complete information.     

We are blessed to have an outstanding police department in Southaven, so again I say, "I back the Blue", and will ask, "how about you?"