LETTER TO THE EDITOR: The Death of Leadership

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: The Death of Leadership

Submitted by Liam Holley

What has happened to the skills and morals of leadership in our current entitled society. There was a time when we entrusted  the men and women we elected and put into office. We held dear to the morals of a person to do what was ethical, unfortunately those days are behind us.

I am directly addressing the city government of Rainsville Alabama, from the Mayor to the city council and the current campaign to replace the Chief of Police Kevin Smith.

Chief Smith has served honorable in law enforcement spanning 2 decades of community service and 2 plus decades of experience from patrol to criminal investigations and now administrative duties. Chief Smith was a man that lead from the front and lead with a strong faith in God and a strong belief in the constitution of the United States. A chief that would on the occasion come out on night patrol and lead by example not from an ivory tower. This was evident when a group of youTube activist came to Rainsville Police Department and did a video testing the wit and temperament of the police department. Rainsville was the only department in Dekalb county that got an approval from this group. We can not base an entire career on cop hating youTube activist, but it can be a test of ones patience and understanding of the rights of civilians.

Chief Smith has countless community meetings with civilians, Coffee with a Cop was only 1 example of his leadership to openly discuss any issues civilians had with him or the officers he lead.

Coats for kids, an effort he lead to get coats for anyone that needed warm clothes for the sometimes bitter winters. A brilliant young lady named Micah Swift spearheaded a program called “ shop with a cop ‘to allow under privileged children to  receive 100.00 for each child to receive a Christmas that some children so desperately needed. It was and absolute joy to watch these children shop and spend money for themselves. This was a campaign of charity for the underprivileged and a campaign of transparency leadership that has escaped the government of Rainsville Alabama.

The leadership of Chief Smith was never more transparent and evident until his resolve and faith was tested. A patrol officer was accused of stealing medication while performing duties of a patrol officer. Chief Smith was tested, could we just cover this up or could we do the ethically charged call to confront and actually charge this officer with a crime. As you may guess this officer was charged and terminated from his position as a patrol officer. Today’s society is screaming for transparency within the agency of its police and this is just another example of his morals and effort to confront an age old problem of police and connecting with the community it protects.

 When Officer Josh Wilson was on patrol and made routine traffic stop that lead to the youTube video and the scandal of who actually released the video to the media, Chief Smith lead the effort to charge the civilian with criminal charges against his officer.

Chief Smith was instrumental in an armored vehicle to protect the civilians and the officers. Through donations and about 90 percent of his own time was devoted to restore and equip this vehicle. The beautiful first responders memorial that is in Rainsville park now. Chief Smith sent more officers to instructor level classes than the prior chiefs all in an effort to make the police department more self sufficient and reduce cost for the police department, and to further training and readiness to protect the residents. Chief Smith took his own time and money to redo the pistol range in Rainsville, Women’s only self defense classes hosted by Chief Smith. 50,000.00 in free equipment received because of grants written by Chief Smith.

I could continue on the character of Chief Smith but I think I have painted an accurate picture of his leadership and morals. The title of this letter “The death of leadership" is obviously not directed to Chief Smith but the leadership of the elected officials of Town Rainsville and the current campaign to replace him as Chief. Why in God’s name would the elected officials want to replace someone with a resume and accolades of a stellar career in law enforcement, simply put “ politics “.  Chief Smith did not play the politics of an morally corrupt city council. He did not jump when he was told to, his officers made to many traffic stops or stopped the wrong person, Evident in the infamous body cam footage from Officer Wilsons traffic stop and the exclaimed statement of

 “Hang on let me call Ricky Byrum “ or an elected officials interfering with traffic stops and endangering offices lives, and the good ole boy politics of the current elected officials.  I don’t suspect you build faith and trust with the police department when you as an elected official bail out the guy that threatened the very officer that you were elected to govern and protect.

Unfortunately this is a trend with Rainsville, is there any doubt why the police department has a high turn around rate for staffing or why about every 4 years a chief is replaced only to start another cycle of city officials not allowing the chief to do the job he is paid to do. Threats of defunding the department if you don’t fall into line with our policies of do what I say and when I say to do it, if not we will find someone that will.

Never were the morals, work ethic or character of Chief Smith an issue , never an issue of  lack of knowledge to perform the job, just an issue of a this administration  wants a “ yes man “  in that position and I suspect they will remove him from his position.

Rainsville is a political cesspool and has a long history of games and politics that not only affect its employees, it also affects the good people of the city that vote for these politicians and keep them in office. I hope the next 4 years will be better but when you continuity put the same people in a position of authority you really can not expect different results.

All I can hope to accomplish with this letter is to shine a light on morally corrupt elected officials and not tarnish the good name of Chief Smith and I pray his career will not be affected by the actions of a few cowardly men that openly  joked and laughed about keeping this secret from Chief Smith and letting him find out in an open city council meeting that his role as Chief would be terminated. That is just a rumor and I can not confirm it,  However if its true then it speaks volumes on the nefarious actions to plot and toy with a good mans name and career.

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