Local officials talk law enforcement challenges

Josh Presley

Due to recent events, such as the Dallas shooting, there has been tension between police and some members of the public nationwide. According to local law enforcement officials, controversies in other parts of the country have an effect on officers locally, be it positive or negative.
West Point Police Chief Tim Brinkley said nationwide events tend to have an almost immediate effect on smaller law enforcement agencies.
“There’s been some tension,” Brinkley said. “When these things happen, such as when it happened in Dallas or Ferguson, the reaction doesn’t trickle down over the course of a few weeks. It happens almost immediately.”
He said patrol officers had to be extra diligent, and that there wasn’t such a thing as a “routine” stop or assignment. ‘
“I get updates every day, and there was just another police shooting in San Diego,” Brinkley said. “It’s becoming common. Sadly, it’s getting to be an everyday occurrence.”
He said that, despite the tensions nationwide, many local citizens and organizations had been quick to support law enforcement. In the past couple weeks. the local AARP and First Christian Church have both hosted law enforcement appreciation events.
“Thankfully, there seems to be more support in our community than maybe in some others,” Brinkley said.
Clay County Sheriff Eddie Scott said the local community and law enforcement worked well together.
“We live here, go to church here, our kids go to school here,” Scott said. “It’s our community too.”
He said there were good and bad law enforcement officers, but that it was up to the sheriffs and police chiefs to weed them out.
“We carefully screen our hires,” Scott said. “I’m not going to put somebody out there with a badge and a gun if I think they’re going to be a problem.”
See Sunday's Daily Times Leader for more.