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Rockland councilors say police talks will be long, difficult

Petitioners seeks to defund Rockland police

By Stephen Betts | Aug 04, 2020
Photo by: Christine Simmonds Rockland Police Chief Chris Young and Knox County Sheriff Tim Carroll kneel with protesters at a June 1 event in Rockland in response to the George Floyd death in Minnesota and in support of Black Lives Matter.

Rockland — Rockland City Councilors said they will hold discussions concerning police services and whether there should be a shift in municipal spending for other services that could reduce the cost of law enforcement.

Angela McIntyre of Rockland read a petition that includes a demand to defund police to the Rockland City Councilors at their Monday evening, Aug. 3 meeting.

McIntyre said at the Monday evening meeting that she has gathered signatures from 135 Rockland residents and 350 total from the Midcoast as well as 120 from outside the state.

There are 5,289 registered voters in Rockland

McIntyre launched an online campaign to gather signatures in support of Black Lives Matter.

"Defunding of police cannot happen without also investing in programs that create safety, security, and well-being for our communities," McIntyre said July 28 in an email.

"The petition calls for an immediate freeze of budget increases for law enforcement and asks the city commits to making a comprehensive plan in invest and public safety.

"This not a demand to immediately eliminate the police department. But it is a commitment to work towards building a city and a budget where police will become obsolete," she said.

The Council took no action. No timetable was set for discussions.

"I'm excited to have this conversation as challenging as it will be," Councilor Ben Dorr said at the Monday evening meeting. "This is the beginning of a long conversation on how to best spend city money."

Councilor Ed Glaser said the Council needs to begin having in-person meetings which would allow the public to better communicate with the Councilors. The Council has been meeting via Zoom since mid-March because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Glaser said if there are policy changes it would need to start with the Council and agreed with Dorr that it would be a long conversation.

Councilor Nate Davis said he would welcome a long, deep, and serious conversation on the nature of local police services and what other services might be provided.

Davis said the Council did not need to vote on accepting or not accepting the petition but that a long, difficult discussion should be held.

The Rockland Police Department budget for 2020-2021 is $2,177,000. The Knox County Jail budget for 2020 is $4.2 million and the Knox County Sheriff's Department budget for 2020 is $2.4 million.

She said defunding police means different things to different people. She said the intent of Black Lives Matter is clear to gradually defund police and invest in community, and abolish policing.

"I think a lot of people hear 'defund the police' and imagine calling 911 with no one ready to respond to crisis. That is not the goal of defunding police. The focus is on how we (as a city, as a state, as a nation) respond to crisis. As a community, Rockland and Midcoast cities need to first evaluate what our needs are around public safety.

"Do we need armed people trained to use force to respond to all needs around public safety? Probably not. There are times when people are in violent situations with immediate need of protection, and by all means, we need to respond appropriately. But we also need to step back and examine these events and ask ourselves, why are they happening? What can be done to prevent these situations?" McIntyre said.

More than a dozen people spoke during the Monday evening online meeting or submitted letters concerning the petition. Most of the speakers were in support of the petition. Speakers called for changes such as a civilian review board to hear complaints against police.

Former Mayor Will Clayton urged the Council to reject the petition.

Gordon Page of Owls Head, who is the Republican nominee for the state Senate, acknowledged there was passion on both sides of the issue.

"The loss of the Police Department in Rockland, or even a reduction in manpower due to significant defunding efforts would simply shift the burden of law enforcement in the City to other police agencies. Such a move would likely result in additional taxation to the residents of the other Knox County towns, and create new opportunities for those who prey on others," Page said. "Clearly, there are solid reasons to improve social services and other outreach programs, as mental health issues and addiction are a root cause of a certain percentage of crimes. But not all. The fact remains that there are bad guys and gals who live among us; real criminals who, with malice aforethought intentionally deceive, destroy, rape, murder, molest and maim."

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Comments (54)
Posted by: Ronald Dyer | Aug 06, 2020 13:00

Might I add to Mr. Steinberger with regards to his recollections. i attended the public hearing the committee held on that particular issue and i remember it differently as far as the response to the proposal.  i was there in support of the Fire Department as the son of a former Fire Chief.

I even reminded the committee of a comment a former councilor once remarked that if you issued every citizen in Rockland a shotgun, garden hose and a broom that you could eliminate Police Fire and Public works.

The late Jean Chalmers was at that meeting and recalled the councilor's remarks since she chuckled audibly after i said it.

There was also, despite your insistence. the suggestion that the money cut from those budgets in the name of cost effectiveness would be partly used to fund social programs in the city to benefit those citizens needing those programs. I made a comment at the meeting is what the city needed at the time to help those persons were more jobs that allowed the citizens affected to make a better living.

My point to my comments here was more to the point that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Respectfully.



Posted by: Ronald Dyer | Aug 06, 2020 12:40

I can't help but notice that there is an alternative petition being 'circulated" online gathering signatures which calls for NOT defunding the Rockland Police Department.

But like the petition in question it also has signatories that are from outside the community much like Ms McIntyre's has which seemed to be a main sticking point with those who oppose it.

I know this as some of those in questions are friends and I get notifications on social media when they sign and the petition site urges me to join them in the cause.

I am a former Rockland resident, 4th generation born and raised, but not being a resident any longer or a taxpayer, while I have an opinion in the matter I really don't have any say as trying to convince the council either way.

That's up to the taxpayers and the voters of Rockland and their City Council should take those opinions and not the outsiders into consideration.

 



Posted by: Tom Jackson | Aug 06, 2020 00:59

I pay my taxes in Rockland and am happy paying for our police dept. I reject this petion...period!



Posted by: Valerie Wass | Aug 05, 2020 20:12

First of all JGM, do you live in Rockland?  If not, you really have no business talking crap about our citizens and government!  While I did not vote for some members of our city government, I did vote for some.  For you to state:  "You are wrong in the sense that you and the citizens of Rockland have elected a City Council full of liberals who think just like the petitioners and not like you and other long time, native Rocklanders", shows much ignorance on your part.  Have you talked to any of the city council members to hear their view on the outrageous petition or are you just flapping at the mouth?  Yes, your post made me extremely angry!

I quote: "

Elections have consequences and the citizens of Rockland have done a terrible job knowing who and what they are electing. You need to get these people out of office as soon as possible. And that doesn’t mean electing one of them to the Maine State House of Representatives either."

We, the citizens of Rockland, vote for whom we wish to represent us.  Just because you do not like who is running our government, is no reason what so ever to tell us we have done a terrible job!

Again, I ask, do you live here in Rockland????



Posted by: Gayle Murphy | Aug 05, 2020 17:39

Valerie . . . You are wrong in the sense that you and the citizens of Rockland have elected a City Council full of liberals who think just like the petitioners and not like you and other long time, native Rocklanders.

 

Elections have consequences and the citizens of Rockland have done a terrible job knowing who and what they are electing. You need to get these people out of office as soon as possible. And that doesn’t mean electing one of them to the Maine State House of Representatives either.

 

JGM



Posted by: Valerie Wass | Aug 05, 2020 17:12

Why would the talk about the police department be long and difficult.  I am pretty sure that Ms. McIntyre will need plenty more of the tax payers of Rockland's signatures before the city council should even begin to discuss it.  Am I wrong?



Posted by: CATHY TRUEMAN | Aug 05, 2020 15:49

Why is a petition concerning the City of Rockland and its police department collecting signatures from people who are not residents?  If Ms. McIntyre wants to submit a petition that she would like to have officially accepted and discussed, it should contain the signatures and addresses of VERIFIED registered Rockland voters.  The same people that can also elect or choose not to elect these City Councilors.  If this conversation is held, I hope that it is well advertised and a large area reserved for the public to gather (distancing) and speak on this issue.

I am very grateful to the Rockland PD, and the job that they do. To base this due what is happening in other parts of the Country is beyond ridiculous.



Posted by: Joseph Steinberger | Aug 05, 2020 13:01

Valerie et al,
I think a non-partisan citizens committee, open to everyone, would be the way to go. This kind of citizens group has many examples in Rockland history.
If you, or anyone in this discussion, would like to talk with me about this, I am happy to hear from you: 596-0731.



Posted by: Valerie Wass | Aug 05, 2020 11:22

Joe,

All the departments/spending within the budget should be gone over with a tooth and comb, not just the police and fire departments.  There is so much waste within city spending.  How would one go about starting a process to have our city government and tax payers go through the city's budget?



Posted by: Joseph Steinberger | Aug 05, 2020 10:20

I am glad that someone (thank you Ronald Dyer) remembers the Public Facilities and Services sub-committee that I chaired back in the 90’s. We issued a report which was published in the Free Press (but never even considered by the City Council.) Our report found that Rockland was spending significantly more on our police and fire departments than similar small cities (i.e. Belfast) and that cost-saving changes should be considered. (Note to Mr. Dyer: we did not find this to be true of public works, and we did not propose the saving be spent on social services.) Soon after that, I ran for City Council and sent a letter to all Rockland voters saying that we could find ways to save money in the police and fire budgets. I was elected on that platform.
After the election I was invited by the then fire chief to visit him in his office. He was polite, but clearly angry, and told me that if I “messed” with his budget, he would quit. On the Council I found zero support for any attempt to seriously review how we spent our taxpayer dollars on police and fire.
The proposal was not “laughable.” as Mr. Dyer says. It was the result of some serious study and thought by a diverse group of citizens, and it was supported by the majority of voters, but it was politically scary, scary enough that our political leadership (i.e. the City Council) would not touch it.
And it hasn’t been touched since. Here we are more than 20 years later and it seems still impossible to have a thoughtful discussion on the appropriate funding and mission of our public safety department.
What we are seeing in Rockland is a microcosm of our national disfunction. With people so divided, the special interests - be they the big corporations or unionized public employees - are getting what works for them, and we, the people, are not.
Is there any chance that here in Rockland we might get our act together, and set an example for the rest of the nation?



Posted by: Valerie Wass | Aug 05, 2020 09:44

I want to apologize for stating that the petition is a joke.  I did not mean to down play this at all.  Nor did I insinuate that black lives do not matter.  Every live matters.

The petition, as I understand it, wants to get rid of the police department and put that money towards mental health care issues.  We already have many organizations in Knox County for such problems.  If a person with a mental health issue does not want to seek help, why would we need more help?

In my opinion, BLM is going WAY too far!

 



Posted by: Valerie Wass | Aug 05, 2020 06:31

I just found the petition.  From what I read, it is all about BLM.  It really is a joke, in my opinion.

 

 

The petition reads

As a community, we demand meaningful commitments to dismantle racism. We press the City Council to the following actions:

1) A public statement of support for Black Lives Matter, and its demand to defund police and invest in community wellbeing.

2) Honor Juneteenth as a holiday where we renew our community’s commitment to dismantling racism, review accomplishments of the previous year, and set new goals for the coming year.

3) Refusal to increase the law enforcement budget in our town, make a Comprehensive Plan to invest the law enforcement budget into new programs that invest in community safety and wellbeing.

4) Increase community opportunities for public dialogue regarding the City budget.

5) Create a civilian oversight board that creates commitments to accountability, oversight, and change.

6) Trained mental health providers and social workers on First Responder calls.

7) Comprehensive anti-abuse programs that center the needs of recovery for survivors of domestic violence and all forms of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. Increase for support for recovery and addiction programs. Increase support for commitments to affordable housing. An examination of the way our City may criminalize poverty and replaces practices with effective system. Supports schools in integrating anti-racism into classrooms for all ages through training, classroom resources, and dedicated space and time for curriculum building. And a refusal to use school resource officers in our school.

“We sign this petition to solidarity with the work and demands of Black Lives Matter, and demand that we see real political change on a local level. We acknowledge that racism needs to be dismantled in many local institutions, not just law enforcement.”

ARTICLE BY SARAH THOMPSON  PEN BAY PILOT



Posted by: Valerie Wass | Aug 05, 2020 06:16

Crawford,

Do you mean de funding the police department as a way to fight back?



Posted by: Crawford L Robinson | Aug 04, 2020 11:52

Seemingly, the majority of the comments I'm seeing are politically motivated to echo the DJT wolf cry "They want to take away the police and eliminate law and order". My comment has nothing to do with that as I am... and ALWAYS will be an unenrolled Independent voter. No political party affiliation for this cat. What I see is we are missing the real point of dollars and sense and common sense. The real meat and potatoes has NOTHING to do with the BLM movement here. Does no one besides me find it odd that a small city like Rockland has a 2.1 million dollar budget, nearly matching the 2.4 million dollar patrol budget of the entire county patrol? Let's look at another example. I looked for a comparably populated local jurisdiction for comparison purposes. I found Belfast: Population 6668 ... Rockland 7297, a paltry 629 person difference. Then on to the geographical patrol area: Belfast 38.37 sq mi...... Rockland 15.07 sq mi. Over double the coverage area. Both cities are tourist traps, so that doesn't factor in. Belfast PD budget is $1,123,815. Rocklands is $2,177,458. Yup... annually OVER a million bucks more. Any eyebrows raised yet? I don't want to pick on any one department either. There ARE others. When I watch revaluations taxing us out of house and home and many if not most of city employees not even Rockland residential taxpayers and many of the commenters here also non Rockland residents with no dog in the fight because they don't pay a nickel towards our PD or other services ... I WILL fight back.



Posted by: Dave Aho | Aug 04, 2020 11:46

Dear Amy Files, (this is Naomi Aho commenting)

The following quote is from your previous post:

"It is very clear that many people in our community are not supporters of Black Lives Matters. They either believe racism doesn't exist or they take personal affront to a movement that suggests we can do better than live in a system where black people need to worry they may be shot for jogging down the street."

 

Ms. Files, please don't tell me how I think. I do not support BLM, and not for either assumption  with which you have painted me (and others you don't know). These kind of assumptions are what slam the door on any real discussion, because you have already decided that you know how I think, and why.

Have you actually looked into what BLM (the organization) is really all about? What your donations are used for? Many people of color have stated that they do not support the organization because it doesn't actually help black people. But it sure does line the pockets of certain politicians.

It's always a good idea to know the facts before you make sweeping generalizations. And here's another fact for you: I absolutely believe that black lives matter. Also, Police lives matter, brown lives matter, indigenous lives matter, unborn lives matter...I could go on. I hope you get my point.

Our nation is becoming increasingly divided by those who make decisions based on fact, and those who base decisions by their own emotions. Maybe more fact-based thinking and decision-making would go a long way here.

Respectfully,

Naomi



Posted by: Ronald Pendleton | Aug 04, 2020 10:26

2 violent murderers will soon  be released to knox county within months of each other, the state doctors diagnosed one of them as anti-social and unable to feel remorse, he was just moved to the farm last week. When they come to Ms. Mcintyre's neighborhood looking for a way to violate so they can return to the only life they know, be sure to call the city librarian for help.



Posted by: Ronald Dyer | Aug 04, 2020 09:11

This nothing but a new take on an old theme. Back in the 90s there was a committee set up to study the Comprehensive Plan for the city and one of the committee's or (sub committees) led by Joseph Steinberger floated a recommendation to cut police, fire and public works budgets and channel the money into social services/social programs.

It was laughable then, it was laughable now. The fact that as of the date of this article, the petitioner only has managed to garner 135 citizens of Rockland to sign it  proves that.



Posted by: Wyatt Anderson | Aug 04, 2020 05:25

I agree with former Mayor Will Clayton. This petition should be rejected outright!



Posted by: Valli Genevieve Geiger | Aug 03, 2020 20:46

Valerie,  (This is Greg Marley, LCSW)To answer your question on whether police will take someone into PBMC for further evaluation; it depends.  If the individual is in distress and wants further evaluation, police can arrange to make that happen.  If an individual refuses, then it would depend upon them meeting criteria for protective custody under Maine law.  It would mean, in the judgement of the officer, to based upon the input of another responsible adult, the person presents a risk to self or others based upon the symptoms of a mental illness.  Then the officer can take them under protection and transport for further evaluation by a mental health clinician.

 



Posted by: Valerie Wass | Aug 03, 2020 20:40

Sarah,

There are already so many programs in place to help those in need.  If they do not wish to use them, then they will not change and de funding a police department is not the way to go.  Do you have ideas on how to secure our city from criminals, house break ins, domestic violence, accidents and many other issues that our police receive calls for?



Posted by: Jeff Oehlert | Aug 03, 2020 16:34

Well I guess this gets pretty personal here, so I must correct the record here and say that I am using someone else's account and the previous comment was not actually from Jeff. This is my first time commenting on an article and I'm blown away at the immediate vitriol. I hope people really do show up for the council meeting tonight to express their opinions without so much name calling. I'm sure there will be lots more discussion about this topic new to most of us.     Sarah



Posted by: Valerie Wass | Aug 03, 2020 16:09

Stephen Betts,

Maybe you can answer this...Do the police, when called to a mental health issue with no harm, bring the person to Pen Bay for further evaluation?



Posted by: Valerie Wass | Aug 03, 2020 16:07

Susan,

Can you be more specific in your statement of: "Making meaningful changes in how our city spends its money is a way to dismantle racism"?  Can you explain further how making changes in how the city spends money will help dismantle racism?  I do not understand your comment. Thank you

 



Posted by: Susan Manning | Aug 03, 2020 14:07

I am in favor of this petition because it is time to affect change regarding racism.  Making meaningful changes in how our city spends its money is a way to dismantle racism.  I cannot be silent in the face of the pain that I know is hurting black and brown families.  I am also very aware that the police department here in Rockland is to be commended for joining the BLM rally and for responding to emergencies in our city.



Posted by: Kelly Blastow | Aug 03, 2020 13:45

Wow this world just keeps getting more IGNORANT!



Posted by: Valli Genevieve Geiger | Aug 03, 2020 13:17

To Valerie and to Joe.  (This is Greg Marley)

I have no desire nor intent to support defunding the police.  I do have concerns all across Maine at how often the police are called to respond to mental health calls where there is no indication of risk. If you call them, they will respond, but their training is not that of mental health clinician.  And Valerie, I was a mental health crisis clinician for many years in our county.  I responded in the community regularly; in homes, public sites, schools....  And there were times we absolutely needed the support of law enforcement and called them without hesitation; working together to maintain safety and to alleviate the crisis.   They have a very important role to play, just not that of assessing mental health needs.  Rockland police force is well trained and supported to respond, and they are not mental health professionals; and should not be expected to be able to assess needs in the same way a clinician would.  I want to see a system that lives the mandate of Maines crisis network again; to stabilize a crisis using the least restrictive means.  Most of the time that would not start with a law enforcement officer.   I have worked with and trained and supported law enforcement and will continue to do so; in the role they do best.

AND JOE; To assume that Valli and I always share the same opinions and thoughts......?  Presumptive and retro.



Posted by: Valerie Wass | Aug 03, 2020 12:59

My apologies.  My previous post is directed towards Amy not Angela.



Posted by: Valerie Wass | Aug 03, 2020 12:57

Angela,

Have you asked Muslims how they feel living in our country?  I can bet that they also feel threatened by us.  Remember when Muslims were being targeted several years ago?  Many killed while praying at their Mosques?  Their lives matter also.  Because I state that every live matters, is not saying that I do not care about black lives.  On the contrary, I am stating that they matter, indians matter, muslims matter, gay lives matter etc.    I am not singling out one race and concentrating on that one race to do racism.  Most every race has some sort of racism.  Why are so many Americans singling out one???



Posted by: Amy Files | Aug 03, 2020 12:20

Thank you to Angela McIntyre for stepping up and putting herself out there. This conversation is clearly contentious  and politically divisive. It is not easy, in a small town, to voice concerns about something like this. Fear of retribution and attacks is very real, as are illustrated by some of the horrid comments on Facebook.

I am saddened — and disgusted — by the many comments (mostly appearing on Facebook) that have called for retribution towards people expressing their democratic right to their opinions. Suggesting people should be *punished* for expressing their political opinion (that people concerned about our system shouldn't receive emergency services, for example) is anti-democratic,  anti-American, and dangerous.

It is very clear that many people in our community are not supporters of Black Lives Matters. They either believe racism doesn't exist or they take personal affront to a movement that suggests we can do better than live in a system where black people need to worry they may be shot for jogging down the street.

While I wasn't ignorant of the fact that racism exists here in our country and community, my eyes have been opened by the reaction of many to the Black Lives Matters movement. So many people feel threatened by the suggestion that Black people are mistreated by our system. They take it personally. Why?

If you support Black Lives Matters please consider real action. A protest or a sign in your yard is nice — but we need real policy change. Please consider showing your support for police reform and shouldering some of the responsibility that Angela has taken on by stepping up and bringing this conversation to our community. Write a letter of support, contact council, come to a (Zoom) council meeting, get involved with changing policy. There is much to be done and the work will not be easy—but the more people that get involved locally, the stronger we are as a community to create change.



Posted by: Valerie Wass | Aug 03, 2020 11:28

Jeff,

People who are addicts, have social issues, are abusers, etc. have the resources and many here in Knox County to get the help they need now.  You can't help someone who doesn't want to help themselves.  Defunding the police department is what it says and means.  Ain't no trying to sugar coat it!



Posted by: Valerie Wass | Aug 03, 2020 11:23

Greg,

Not a complex issue at all.  Miss McIntyre obviously is going along with social media and media in general.  Of course, it started with a white policeman killing an innocent black person.  I understand why the world is upset with what happened.  I am too. But I choose to let it go and trust in God and go forward in the best way I know how.  I do not choose to say that black lives matter because, too me, every life matters, regardless of race.  I know that we need our police department and that they do an extremely good job and I appreciate every single one of them.

Greg,

If there was a call to the police department for a mental health issue, would you wish to send a mental health worker instead of the police?



Posted by: Nina Reed | Aug 03, 2020 09:07

This movement seems to be more from someone who lacks attention than someone who supports black lives matter. she contradicted herself in the article saying that her intent was not to defund the police, but to take some of that money and invested into social service programs. exactly how many police officers do you think would remain if you took money from their budget and placed it into your bleeding heart fund? I don't know you, but I truly hope that in your time of need, the police department in Rockland will not have been defunded and someone will show up at your door. Maybe then you'll stop and realize just how valuable our police departments are. You are nothing more than a troublemaker and a troll. ~Melanie Keene



Posted by: Nina Reed | Aug 03, 2020 09:02

Jeff, if you honestly believe that our community is the violent community that she describes in her petition, you need to leave. The people here along with the police are wonderful people that work hard everyday. You are nothing more than a slime that wants to jump on to a losing bandwagon. I believe that black people should have the same rights that we do, this should have been happening a long time ago, however petitions that are calling to defend our public servants and protectors have no place in this community!



Posted by: Nina Reed | Aug 03, 2020 08:51

Sandra-if you don't know how to do research, I'm not doing it for you.  For that matter- "I heard"does not equal gospel. Why don't you get a clue and then come back and try to have an adult conversation.~Melanie Keene.



Posted by: Wyatt Anderson | Aug 03, 2020 08:17

How many of you have read the mission statement Black Lives Matter?



Posted by: Wyatt Anderson | Aug 03, 2020 08:00

BACK THE BLUE!!!!! ALL LIVES MATTER!!!!



Posted by: Gregory D Kibitz | Aug 03, 2020 07:34

Law enforcement obsolescence? Ridiculous!  Are some really that unfamiliar with the very base, violent, aggressive and criminal nature of far too many human beings?

 

Yes, we need infinitely more social services.  Pen Bay Behavioral HealthCare, unlike Mid Coast Mental Health, barely has any LCSW's or Clinical Therapists anymore, nor onsite psychiatrists that I know of.

Plus, DHS is overwhelmed with child protection services. There is next to no substantive services for adults.   Only PenBay's short term Psych Ward, then the Police, Courts, Jail & Prison. Yes, we still need the legal system too, so def not fund it even less!

 

Maybe someday we'll be a better populous, and need less policing (I hope) but we'll never get there from here unless we deal with our ever growing mental illness and substance abuse crisis.  Something the legal system is neither suited for, nor at all able to ameliorate.



Posted by: Jeff Oehlert | Aug 03, 2020 06:03

It's a bummer that the headline is simply about defunding the police, and that seems to be the big take away, when this petition that I've seen and signed is so much more. I think we can all agree that safety is the priority and important to us all. Perhaps we could see the common ground more easily if it were discussed not in terms of DE-funding police, but rather RE-funding other services that help people before law enforcement gets involved (recovery and addiction programs, support for affordable housing...). And as she is quoted in the article, "There are times when people are in violent situations with immediate need of protection, and by all means, we need to respond appropriately.  But we also need to step back and examine these events and ask ourselves, why are they happening?  What can be done to prevent these situations?" Lets work to make the jobs of our fine law enforcement officers easier.



Posted by: Midcoast Homes | Aug 02, 2020 22:09

While I appreciate this individual’s dedication to her cause, as a resident and business owner within the city of Rockland,  many more signatures would be needed to actually consider this something worth taking up our Council’s time. 68 signatures does not constitute even a fraction of the residents of the city and signatures from other communities is irrelevant when it comes to making decisions about what happens in Rockland.  I don’t disagree that police reform may be needed in many parts of the county, and that community resources need evaluated. I stand behind the commitment and service provided by our men and women in the Rockland police department. They are valued  and respected members of the fabric of our community. We need to address what is best for our city based on our unique needs.  Has our department failed ? If so, I haven’t seen it.  I want our police here and I believe our community is a better place with them in it.



Posted by: Judy Lessard | Aug 02, 2020 20:16

To judge a group as a whole (in this case the police) - isn’t this what we are trying to get away from....  so hypocritical!

I know many of the woman and men who make up the Rockland Police Department  - they don’t just “police”.  They are very, very involved in our community and in our children.  They often visit schools to hang with the kids, to play a moment with them on the playground or to say good morning to them as they are getting of the school bus.  They pop in during overnight graduation gatherings at the high school to play games and hang with the class seniors - those kids love that!!  Our Police Officers are building connections with the kids of our community who hopefully will grow to be stellar citizens some day.  That’s the kind of police department Rockland has.  Do you even know this about them?

This lady says “it is a commitment to work towards building a city and a budget where POLICE WILL BECOME OBSOLETE”.   We do not live in a fairytale world, we live in the real world where bad people do exist and who do bad things to people for no reason other than personal gain or personal gratification.  They are not a product of their environment, they are not repressed - they are sociopaths and psychopaths who are ill and who no amount of social work can help - sad but true.  We will never be in a world that is safe enough for police to be “obsolete” - that’s just a ridiculous ideal.

She said “the intent of Black Lives Matter is clear - to gradually defund police and invest in community, and ABOLISH policing”.   What happens on a day, god forbid, we have a horrible event like an active shooter in our school - who will respond?  Do you have a plan for that scenario?

I also know for a fact, that very often, social workers ASK police to accompany them to certain households and during certain situations for their own safety which is just the smart thing to do.

It wIll be sad and dangerous times to have no police officers to call upon when in need.



Posted by: Brittany Prock | Aug 02, 2020 18:20

Seriously. Yeah lets just defund the police. Are you guys nuts. Our cops in Rockland are some of the finest in our country caring and compassionate. We have no investment in this racist group black lives matter. Let them fight their own riotous fight. I say we need to back the men and women in uniform not shame and scorn them. When was the last time Rockland coos killed a unarmed man. Get real you freeks. BLUE LIVES MATTER.



Posted by: Alana Allen | Aug 02, 2020 17:54

What are people thinking or NOT. Defund the police??? Why would anyone want to defund the police. Most of us need them at least once in our lives. Probably more. How about let's NOT defund the police.

 



Posted by: Joseph Steinberger | Aug 02, 2020 17:08

Who is throwing the stink bombs? Not Steve Betts. He has written a straightforward and objective story. Perhaps that is the fault that he is accused of. Partisanship has become the norm in today's media.

We are very lucky to have Steve reporting on our local news. He works hard and is intelligent, honest and fair. If Greg and Valli want to defund the police, they should explain why, not attack Steve Betts for doing his job.

The issue of how we spend our Rockland tax dollars is an important one. We probably can do a more efficient job of law enforcement, and we should certainly do more to help our children grow up to be productive and law-abiding citizens. The BLM movement is focused on race, but here in Rockland it is more about class, with many children growing up in poverty and learning to distrust the police. Let's have a thoughtful and respectful conversation about that, and not attack Steve Betts for reporting the news.



Posted by: Laura Martz | Aug 02, 2020 16:59

First, she says, "...the intent of Black Lives Matter is clear to gradually defund police and invest in community, and abolish policing." So she says right there - final step is 'abolish police'. Then she says, "I think a lot of people hear “defund the police” and imagine calling 9-1-1 with no one ready to respond to crisis. That is not the goal of defunding police." If you abolish the police, who will be there to answer 911 on a potentially violent crime that needs police intervention?



Posted by: Stephen Betts | Aug 02, 2020 16:38

Greg, no, this is not a multi-part series on whether to de-fund police with interviews with scores of individuals. The petitioner announced a few days ago that she would be presenting the petition Monday evening. My job is to inform the public of what is coming before the City Council. The wider discussion can await days or weeks. If you think that notifying the public of what will be occurring at the meeting is throwing a stink bomb, well I have no response to that.



Posted by: Valli Genevieve Geiger | Aug 02, 2020 16:10

I am disappointed in the lack of quality or rigor in this reporting. This feels a little like lobbing a stink bomb and then running away.  The idea of having a conversation begin that opens up discussion on how to best respond to the range of issues we call the police to cover is a valid one.  Police roll on a significant number of calls involving someone in a mental health crisis and they are often the wrong tool for that situation.  We need mental health crisis workers on those scenes who can bring in LEOs as needed only.  The interviewing and presenting only the side of the individual who offers this petition is, in no way, covering the story.  The public deserves a broader and deeper look at this complex issue.  Greg Marley

 



Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Aug 02, 2020 13:46

Miss McIntyre needs to get a dog and name it life so she will have one.  These sign wavers on the corner of Park and Main, in my opinion, are a nuisance.  I feel embarrassed for them. They didn't get enough attention growing up so make sure to wave and help fulfill their need.



Posted by: karen dodge | Aug 02, 2020 12:13

Local law enforcement is for the most part good guys! Yes occasionally you are going to get a dipshit that thinks hes THE LAW in a much different way then they should be. But when trouble arises I want the law enforcement to be there especially if i called them LOL... this crazy idea of abolishing the police is crazy, I certainly don't want 1/2 the people I know that is not trained to police me .... scary thought>>> sorry if i offend anyone BUT we would see a lot more of what we see on TV in our own little area >> i was BORN and brought up here. If you don't like it leave !!

 



Posted by: Gregory M Holmes | Aug 02, 2020 10:47

I guess we should start our own movement called PPM. Police Protection matters



Posted by: Melissa Byer | Aug 02, 2020 09:47

Miss McIntyre needs to move to Minneapolis. She can take the 68 people who signed it with her. This is laughable. We need to pay our officers more so we can get quality not qauntity. The problems in out town is the DA office. Police can only do what the DA will support.



Posted by: Sandra Overlock | Aug 02, 2020 08:05

I have heard that  BLM is a subversive group.  I am for all people having rights but I am not for a socialist government or worse. I have heard this is what BLM is really about and not black lives.  If someone could provide more information I would love to hear it.



Posted by: Alan Heal | Aug 02, 2020 07:28

Hmmm here we go people from other towns trying to control the city. 232 of these signatures should be considered null and void. Who is going to resolve  the break into your home by a drugged up individual? I ask this of the 68 people from Rockland I really do not want the other 232 peoples opinion. We have a very well trained police dept .



Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Aug 02, 2020 07:28

Come on now. We have awesome police and Sherriff department presence. Let's be the voice of encouragement, folks, for a job well done.



Posted by: ananur forma | Aug 02, 2020 06:44

no , do not think defunding police is a good idea, ever. More education, perhaps if needed?



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