Editor’s Note

This is Part II of a 2-part series that began on May 24 at Richland Source.

The idea of community policing is not foreign to Mansfield Police Chief Keith Porch.

In fact, it’s a bedrock principle he was trained under and what he desperately wants to be able to get back to within the Mansfield Police Department.

When he entered the force, there were 17 officers assigned to community policing efforts.

Today there is only one.

“When it comes down to it, our citizens have to be able to trust us, and we are working hard every day to maintain that trust,” Porch said.

The chief understands that it may be difficult for people to come in and talk to officers or detectives about things they may see or know.

However, there are other alternatives available to concerned citizens that may have information but don’t feel comfortable speaking directly to officers.

“Talking with local community leaders, Pastors that are a part of the Mansfield Ministerial Alliance, or social workers can all be ways to share information,” Porch said.

There are so many emotions connected to the recent spate of violence in Mansfield.

There have already been five homicides in Mansfield in 2023 — which matches to total number of homicides in all of 2022. Of those five only one has been solved.

The families, want and deserve closure, the community wants peace. Yet the one thing that everyone needs is accountability.

The criminals must be held accountable for their crime. Our law enforcement must be held accountable to its oath to protect and serve.

Finally, as a community we must be accountable to each other and do our part to ensure that the police can do their job.

According to www2.census.gov there are 47,669 citizens in Mansfield. The city is patrolled by a total of 76 police officers (down from 87, according to Porch).

I am not now nor have I ever been an apologist for law enforcement at any level.

Many of us have chosen to work in jobs with daunting responsibilities where the odds are stacked against us with barriers that make our goals seem impossible to reach at times. But we are still expected to meet those demands.

Still, consider this: What if something you knew could help the greater good, not just for your company, but for your community?

Even if it wasn’t your job or your responsibility to help, how would you feel knowing that something you’ve done or said could ease the pain of a hurting mother or prevent another tragedy in your community?

I had the privilege to hear the mother of one of the recent victims of gun violence in Mansfield speak to a crowd.

She said that through this tragedy, God has given her purpose to be a champion for this community and to make sure that no other mothers will have to feel what she has had to endure.

If this mother, who had not yet buried her son, could be so courageous to not only think about her son, but the community at large, what’s our excuse?

Be Blessed, Not Stressed

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