Town, PD need new leadership

Published 9:01 am Thursday, July 30, 2020

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To the editor:

I write this letter as a concerned citizen of a town that I had the honor to serve. Mocksville is my hometown and a town which I truly love. But as a citizen, I grow more concerned with our police department once again.

The editor of this paper wrote an editorial the week of July 15 praising our police department in making great strides in trying to correct itself after a blistering report of the police department came out that the town had done in September of last year. Then this past week, July 23, the same editor wrote a story about the Mocksville Police Department having a bad week with an employee of that department posting a racial post on their Facebook page about George Floyd, who has been suspended with pay up to today. No decision by our town manager about this employee has been made in almost two weeks because he has been on vacation since July 21. Really? Where are his priorities?

Now, less than a year since we as a town wrapped up our last lawsuit against the police department which a jury awarded the plaintiffs $4.1 million, here we are back again with another lawsuit. Surprised? No. Our citizens deserve better leadership than this. The police department is around 22 percent of our town budget annually. That is $2 million plus out of roughly $9 to $10 million annual budget for the entire town. That is a lot of money.

Several months ago, it was brought to the police chief’s attention about two Mocksville police officers on taxpayer’s time at the police department in uniform and on duty doing videos of themselves and posting it on the website Tik Tok, dancing and using a rapper’s song playing “I’m bored in this _____ house.” You get the picture. These officers received some type of disciplinary action, a smack on the wrist and continue to wear the uniform today. These two officers were three fourths of the town’s protection that night. Wow. I ask the citizens of Mocksville to read this report that was done on our police department last year. Call the town hall and they will make you a copy. It’s public record. You paid for it. Your present town board members are aware of this report and how bad it really is in this department. One board member said he has never seen the morale in this department so low. Then fix it, town board member. The majority of this board has allowed this bad behavior to continue for months. Two town boad members have tried to fix it, Commissioners Vaughan-Jones and Southern. The other three town board members and the mayor hope it just goes away. Well, it hasn’t. It has just gotten worse. All this has continued to occur under our present town manager, our present police chief who has been in this position since October of 2018 and his senior major.

Our town board meets Tuesday, Aug. 4 at 6 p.m. I hope as a concerned citizen that you make plans to attend. I hope this board will gather some courage and make a statement and ask for the resignations of the town manager who makes $125,000 a year, the police chief and his senior major. I am a former town board member and the one vote I regret is voting for our present town manager. That was my mistake and I am sorry for that. He has allowed this nightmare to continue and has kept these same characters in their positions.

We as citizens have it in our power to fix this. Contact the members of the town board who represent us and who have the power to remove these three individuals so Mocksville can move forward. Eric Southern, Brian Williams, Amy Vaughan-Jones, Rob Taylor and Justin Draughn, their phone numbers are on the Mocksville town website.

I have great respect for law enforcement and we still have some good officers at this police department who want to serve and protect. But we have also had good officers who have left because of this poor leadership. They deserve better and so do the citizens of Mocksville.

Brent S. Ward,     Mocksville