An uproar hit Palmer last week when an article and a social media announcement reported that a group called Mat-Su Moms for Social Justice were going to give a presentation before the Palmer City Council about the need to create a police advisory board to oversee our local law enforcement officers.
The upcoming presentation (Tuesday, May 11 at 7 p.m.) contains a proposal for extreme oversight and unnecessary measures against our officers. Media coverage of the idea garnered a lot of attention and engagement on social media and clearly ruffled feathers on both sides of the political spectrum. Just as this group deserves to be heard at the city council chambers, the public also has a right to weigh in on this controversial proposal.
Mat-Su Moms for Social Justice appears to have formed within the last year and is part of a larger organization that includes but is not limited to Black Lives Matter. You only need to review their social media platforms to see what their community and political views are. This group’s funding mechanism, timing and the origin of its parent group are all highly suspect. As a citizen and long-time member of the Palmer community I rallied a group of constitutional conservative friends to gather the facts surrounding this controversial issue in order to cut through some of the chatter.
I encourage the public to research this group for yourself and to look at each city council member’s platforms and voting records, which will provide a clear picture of where they stand on the political horizon.
For now, let us stick to the facts of the subject at hand.
- The Palmer Police Department currently has 15 sworn in officers which include common staff.
- Since 1998, police officers were involved in four shootings. Suspects were hit but not killed in 1998, 1999, 2005 and 2016. Again, zero deaths.
- None of these shootings involved African American or marginalized citizens.
- One officer was killed in the line of duty in 1999.
- The present Palmer Chief of Police is incredibly engaged, responsive and has an open-door policy.
- We already have the Alaska Police Standards Council with a strong mission and core principles. This maintains a high standard for all police officers across Alaska.
- The city also has a city council as well as city manager and a beloved mayor that has done an effective job at managing policing in our community.
The suggestion that we need a civilian oversight advisory board is just simply out of touch with our present way of governing and is not needed.
- Click here for details on how to participate in the May 11 Palmer City Council meeting.
- Click here to contact members of the Palmer City Council.