This appeared in the News of Cumberland County today
Don’t sacrifice safety by cutting Millville cops
May 06, 2010, 4:44PMTo the Editor:
I read with dismay that the city of Millville is considering eliminating nine police jobs. This includes the elimination of eight police officers, and one dispatcher.
The city commission should be commended for making the tough decisions, with cuts across the board. This is a bad economy, and it cannot be easy watching people you have known all of your life losing their jobs.
However, these cuts in the police department are shortsighted, and will cost us more in the long run. Monday night we were walking through Center City on Dotty’s (Wilkerson) Walk when a police alert came through that a male was seen with a gun. Shortly afterward we heard a gunshot. Millville police had the suspect within 10 minutes.
There is a disturbing trend of increasing incidents involving gunfire, resulting most recently in a death, as well as several people wounded so far this year. This is not to even mention the multiple reports of gunfire I daily hear from residents in Center City and the Third Ward.
Last Wednesday night at 11:30 p.m. — a riot on 4th Street between Sassafras and Pine. I called Millville dispatch and cars were there in two minutes, and within 10 minutes the entire melee had been dispersed.
On the other hand, the Cumberland County 911 dispatchers have argued with citizens that 2nd Street and Vine Street do not intersect!
It is going to be a hot summer, and to eliminate necessary manpower from a department that covers 42 square miles will only result in longer response times. Eliminating jobs from dispatch will cause delays. During the summer months our dispatchers know me by my voice when I call in.
Until the city gets the pockets of criminal activity under control in our neighborhoods, pulls the illegal guns off of the streets, we need to think twice before sacrificing public safety.
Carl B. Johnson