I believe the role of police in the United States is to uphold the rule of law. I believe local law enforcement is necessary for a well-functioning democracy and to maintain civil order. I believe what happened in Minneapolis is a true aberration and is not representative of how the overwhelming majority of police officers throughout this country perform their duties. Police officers routinely put their life on the line and often sacrifice themselves for complete strangers and that should never go unnoticed. Police officers deserve the utmost respect and honor for the service they provide.
While increasing funding for public housing, education, and healthcare may reduce crime, rerouting funds for these initiatives from the police department is not the answer. Crime will persist and some research has shown that in areas where defunding has occurred, crime rates actually increase. Conversely, strategies such as continual reevaluation of salaries ensures retention and acquisition of high-quality candidates who will continue to strive for excellence in community service. In addition, funding to increase time allowance for training will help improve overall safety and public trust.
I support the construction of the new police headquarters because I believe in order to keep officers safe, they must have a secure building and parking area. Increasing training procedures would also be more easily accommodated by the new headquarters. Finally, I believe the architectural design would command the respect of the public which is vital going forward. The citizens of Fayetteville approved the expenditure of the funds for the construction of the proposed headquarters by 71% to 29% just fifteen months ago. Any attempt to derail this facility is nothing short of overturning the will of the people.
I yield to the wisdom of the superintendent of schools and the entire school board who unanimously believe that school resource officers are beneficial to the Fayetteville public school system. We trust these individuals to make the absolute best decisions for the educational environment for our students and they are unequivocal in their support of school resource officers.
If elected, I plan to maintain frequent contact with officers to determine what issues are present and what recommendations they have. I would then devote time to researching evidence-based solutions, presenting those solutions to the council, and advocating for whatever resources were necessary to implement change. I believe measures such as critical incident debriefings and annual wellness checks will help promote officer wellness and ensure public safety.
I believe in improving reentry programs to decrease rates of recidivism, and enacting programs to allow for increased employment of individuals with felony charges. There should be a way for individuals who have served their time to be restored to a non-stigmatized status in society. Also, while the U.S. Constitution protects against unreasonable bonds, the justice system should not allow the easy return to society of potentially violent people prior to their adjudication.