Response to National Discussion on the Death of George Floyd

GOLF MANOR, OHIO (7/1/20) Submitted by Mayor Stefan Densmore.

In the light of the recent tragic events in Minneapolis, I want to be very clear to our residents, business owners and visitors that the Village of Golf Manor condemns racism, and that ALL Village staff are firmly committed to treating everyone with respect and dignity. The Golf Manor Village Council and administration believe the infusion of diverse cultures, faiths, and customs enriches social and civic life and makes our community stronger.

I have full confidence in our Golf Manor Police Department (GMPD). This is based in part on my personal experience with the integrity of our police chief, Christopher Campbell, whom I’ve worked with now for over four years. Chief Campbell shared with me his personal disgust and sadness in reaction to the sickening example of bad policing that took George Floyd’s life. The Chief and I met after learning of Mr. Floyd’s death and very frankly discussed what measures are in place to insure that nothing like this ever happens in the Village of Golf Manor.

We discussed what our village police department has done historically to prevent unwarranted or excessive use of force, how this remains in place moving forward, and what we’re open to doing in addition to this– to signify we’re not tone death to the fears that have arisen from the many examples of bad policing we’ve seen in the media nationally.

While I have full confidence in our police department, I want to be able to convey that confidence and ease any fears those in our community may have that don’t share my confidence in our police department.

There are a number of standards being discussed nationally in response to overwhelming American support for police reform that we in Golf Manor already have in place, and have had in place for years. The police officers that serve our village receive training on issues of implicit bias, cultural competency, and violence de-escalation techniques, and we began a partnership last year with a local nonprofit organization to increase the social service resource awareness of our officers.

We can and will do more. Some of the ideas on the table include the use of body cameras on all of our officers, and pursuing applications for an independently licensed social worker contracted with the village to consult and assist the Chief in wellness checks for residents of Golf Manor in need.

I appreciate the significant amount of stress that our officers and their families have been managing during this time of scrutiny of their profession. I can hardly imagine what it must be like to share the desire for better policing nationally, the disgust and sadness when confronted by examples of bad policing, and yet be treated by some demonstrators or community members as if you personally as a police officer are the enemy. I want to do all I can to stop such sentiments from taking root or growing in our community, while simultaneously insuring that we are doing all we can to make sure that the circumstances of loss experienced by George Floyd’s family and friends — and the sickening examples of abuses of power that so many other black families across our county keep experiencing — never happens in the Village of Golf Manor, not now, and not in the future.

This takes work. And while saying the words “Black Lives Matter” loudly and persistently, in my opinion, is essential to spreading the word that we hear and agree with the outrage experienced by so many Americans, saying the words and posting the signs, is not enough. But we’re making progress. The Council and I want Golf Manor’s police department to be an example of excellence to police departments across our nation. In many ways the Golf Manor Police department already is this example, but there is more work we can do, and we are committed to it. Stay tuned for more of this discussion, and please feel free to contact me to discuss your ideas or concerns as we trudge forward in these difficult times.

This report is respectfully submitted to the Village residents of Golf Manor. Thank you for the honor of being your Mayor.

Stefan Densmore, Mayor, Village of Golf Manor

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