Harris, Mahoney Comment On 'Defunding Police' – Transylvania County

 

Last updated 6/10/2020 at 5:02pm

Brevard Police Chief Phil Harris

In the wake of George Floyd's death on May 25 and the protests and riots that followed, nine of the 13 members of the Minneapolis City Council said they plan to vote to dismantle the city's police department and replace it with an "alternative model of community-led safety."

The "defund the police" movement has become a part of the national conversation in seeking solutions to prevent incidents such as Floyd's death in Minneapolis, and Breonna Taylor's shooting death during a police raid in Louisville, Ky., on March 13.

In an email interview, both Brevard Police Chief Phil Harris and Transylvania County Sheriff David Mahoney provided their input on the movement.

Chief Harris

"Policing began as professional leadership for the entire community to maintain order and security. That role is the same today. The police are intended to be an extension of community in maintaining the order and safety for which we are all responsible to contribute. "Proper policing is done by everyone in the community, not just the police department. Defunding or dissolving police departments are not solutions. The place to begin is perhaps a discussion on how we may better share the responsibility."


Sheriff Mahoney

"I have spent the past 29 years serving the citizens of Transylvania County as a member of our Sheriff's Office. I have the honor of serving with a diverse group of professional men and women. These public servants have the best interest of our citizens and visitors at heart and work hard every day to continually earn the trust and support of our community while keeping us safe. We are fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles. We are male and female. We are black, white and Latino. We are coaches, teachers and mentors. We volunteer with our schools, youth organizations, and advocate for all. We are part of our community and our community is part of us. This brings truth to the old concept that 'the police are the public and the public are the police.'

"I believe in personal accountability and I believe in holding law enforcement officers to higher standards as our Code of Ethics dictates. I believe in service. I feel that defunding or disbanding law enforcement agencies are fundamentally a bad idea. Defunding critical services creates a ripple effect of unintended consequences.


"For example, the defunding of mental health services by state and local governments in recent years has left some of our most vulnerable citizens without the help or resources they need. Similarly, there are many situations where law enforcement is the appropriate responder. I am fearful that this idea of defunding and disbanding law enforcement agencies would create a similar scenario where the resources needed for the safety and security of a community would not be there when needed."

Transylvania County Sheriff David Mahoney

 
 

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