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Cooperative effort needed to combat violent crime

October 7, 2015
By Mike Scott , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

The leading cause of death for young, black males in our country is murder and, in 95 percent of those instances, the killer is black. While violent crime in our county is not limited to Dunbar by any means, the irrefutable fact is that there has been a pronounced, predictable volume there for many years. Large and small cities across our states mirror these facts and demographics that seem to define Dunbar and similar neighborhoods. It is a sad reality that is not politically correct to discuss and one that many refuse to acknowledge. While the murder rate is alarming as is - the rate would be far higher if not for the talented medics, doctors and emergency room staff who are now saving lives that would have typically been lost. In other words, the rate at which people are "trying" to kill other people is on display in the most recent episodes with seven surviving victims.

While the events of Ferguson, Missouri revealed that facts don't matter but black lives do, it appears those lives matter far more if by chance a white law enforcement officer is involved. No cop wants to be the next Darren Wilson and blaming law enforcement only serves to diminish the blanket of security these brave men and women provide. That blame game is one root of the problem and surfaces each time nationwide attention to looting, rioting and burning are on display in response to certain black lives lost but not others. Regrettably, community leaders like our local NAACP President and others like Sharpton at the national level tend to obsess with confederate flags or General Lee portraits but are far less vocal on the leading cause of death among the groups they represent.

Two years ago, I reached out to former Chief Doug Baker and soon to be former City Manager Billy Mitchell with a suggestion of combined resources in response to the epidemic of violence. Without expounding on my theory of why, the city did not want to move forward with the plan. I think it goes without saying that although the Sheriff's Office has countywide jurisdiction, implementing enhanced enforcement initiatives without total buy-in from our partners would have been ill advised.

Interim Police Chief Dennis Eads is a respected veteran of law enforcement and has been cast into a tough position with uncertainty as to the future of city leadership positions. He is a good friend as well, and we have met several times and communicate often. He and his dedicated team have my full support. We are prepared to move forward with what I hope and pray will be the support of the majority of citizens in Dunbar and beyond who are good, hard-working, honest folks that don't deserve the scourge of violence that continues to befall them.

- Mike Scott is the sheriff of Lee County

 
 

 

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