Publisher's desk

Police departments, historically anyway, have tended to operate in somewhat of a self-contained vacuum. It’s easier and more comfortable not to engage the community outside the police department walls about what is happening inside those walls. That insular approach to policing, of course, is part of the problem across the country with how police officers are perceived and treated in many places, and why calls for ridiculous measures like defunding the police gain steam.

So the invitation last week to a community interview of candidates for the new Douglas Police Department patrol sergeant was met with great interest. While it wasn’t the first time this had been tried in Douglas, previous attempts were seen more of tepid affairs not to be considered more than pleasantries or done for appearance sake.

This one, directed by DPD Chief Todd Byerly and Lt. Todd Matthews, had more substance behind it than those long-discarded versions. The two finalists were ranked, in writing, by the community members. They had to present themselves to the group professionally and defend a program they wanted to institute at the DPD if selected for the job.

The point here isn’t how the two candidates did, but rather that they had to do it in front of community members at all. That was a pretty impressive indication of how invested the DPD is in community policing – a concept introduced here more nearly two decades ago before its popularity as a partial answer to the current political environment in bigger cities across the country.

After waning enthusiasm for community policing here under the numerous chiefs, Byerly has reinvigorated the ideals and promised even more community involvement. Having the community help select the next patrol sergeant, as unusual a move as that is, certainly validates his promise.

––Matt Adelman,


Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.