This is in response to the article written Monday, Nov. 19 concerning the debate over the gang presence in Meridian and the “lack of leadership” of our newly appointed police chief.
Chief Reed brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and fortitude to this community as a law enforcement officer and leader. We recognize that there is systemic crime activity in our community which involves the entire Meridian community, not just Red Line and South Side, but every aspect of our community.
We as citizens must join together in an effort to divert the rise of crime in our community. There are only 102 police officers on the Meridian police force … the budget for officers was predetermined before Chief Reed was hired and if more officers are needed it is up to the city council to find a way to increase his budget for additional officers.
Chief Reed has less than a six month tenure and when he came into office the crime and shootings in the city were on the rise throughout our community.
The comments made by Councilman Bobby Smith stating that Chief Reeds leadership is "nonexistent" was both premature and unfairly stated. I’d like to know what the councilman is doing to help increase the chief's budget and what leadership steps he taking in solving this problem.
Where is the councilman when community meetings are being held to discuss the issues at hand? What programs have been implemented by the councilman to give our troubled youth an alternative?
Our elected city officials should also be held accountable regarding their role in helping end the violence and not just simply pass the blame.
The Meridian Coalition of Organizations stands with Chief Reed in his effort to work through these pressing issues in our community and he deserves our collective effort in working with him and not against him.