If I was the mayor of Statesville, my involvement with the selection of the next police chief would be paramount given the city council-manager system that our local government operates under.

From hiring an executive firm for recruitment to screening and hiring, the responsibility and privilege fall on the mayor to exercise the best of judgment and principles.

It is also the mayor’s responsibility to solicit the input of other city staff and the community regarding this hire. I would ensure that the selection of a new police chief involves “extensive community engagement.” Not only would it be imperative that the community join the discussion now, but it is also important for the city manager to afford residents a platform to voice their opinions. That means their involvement in the process has to start in the beginning and not be inserted at the end. I would earn the confidence of the people through the transparency and impartiality of the hire.

I would strongly encourage hiring a police chief who understands that there are multiple perspectives as it relates to interactions with the police, and the perspective of someone charged with a crime is as important as other people involved in that process. A new chief should be engaged in efforts to try and bring more restorative practices to our city, such as more opportunities for people who struggle with mental illness and addiction.

Solution-oriented outcomes rather than punishment-oriented reforms would be encouraged. I would emphasize a chief whose role is to make the general public feel safe irrespective of age, gender, race or religion. We should strive to be a society where all people trust the police instead of being terrified of them.

The police chief and the police department should be willing to see an alternative to arresting nonviolent offenders instead of just putting more people going into the system.

Statesville deserves a chief who is fully committed to honest, transparent, and meaningful involvement with the community at large.

In addition to building a trusting relationship with residents and delivering equitable policing in a way to best meet today’s demands in community policing, I am hopeful that such a chief will deliver the transparency and accountability residents expect while positioning your police officers for success. There’s no glass ceiling. If the person happens to be a minority or female, that becomes a plus. I would welcome inclusivity and diversity with open arms in the selection, hiring and screening process.

If elected mayor, I will establish and embrace a culture of transparency and accountability to foster trust and legitimacy inside and outside city government. Moreover, my administration would ensure that the police department embraces needed police reforms while removing criminals from the streets – the concepts are not mutually exclusive. Providing equitable policing to all communities and concurrently remaining tough on crime is wholly achievable. Attending public forums where individual citizens can place queries, doubts and suggestions would be a reformative and constructive way to explore new solutions and incorporate new ideas in addition to maintaining accountability in regards to the duties and responsibilities that are associated with the post.

In a request for proposal document seeking a private search firm to recruit the next chief, the city is looking for an “experienced, approachable, and collaborative” leader who will be “expected to expand upon the innovative policing practices and community engagement efforts of the department, and to have a proven track record of openness, transparency and working with diverse communities.”

Joseph Glasgow is a candidate for mayor of Statesville.

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