Ex-City Chief Slams Mayor’s Plan To Abolish Police Department, Says It ‘Will End In Disaster’

Svante Myrick is one of the first Democratic mayors to take action and create policy out of the riots and chaos that erupted in the early portion of 2020 when the country exploded after the death of George Floyd. In fact, the progressive mayor’s policy about abolishing the police department in a small city located in upstate New York is causing residents a lot of anxiety and grief as they fear that doing this will cause a major spike in crime and violence.

The city is already experiencing an uptick in violence and residents think abolishing police will make the situation worse. And so does the town’s former police chief.

According to a report from the National Review, Svante Myrick, who has been the mayor of Ithaca New York since 2011 when he was just 24-years-old, recently announced a comprehensive plan to get rid of the city’s current 63-officer department and replace it with a a civilian-led “community Solutions and Public Safety Department” in an interview he conducted GQ Magazine just last month.

Under the new format proposed by Myrick, Ithaca’s streets would now be patrolled by armed “public safety workers” and unarmed “community solution workers,” who would work together and report to a civilian director of public safety. This plan would also put the IPD SWAT vehicle out of commission and, according to the piece in GQ the current officers on the police force would be required to reapply to the city in order for them to be considered for the new positions.

If they do end up getting rehired, the former police officers would be putting on newly redesigned uniforms baring a “more welcoming agency brand.”

“Everyone wants the police to perform better when they show up, everybody wants that,” Myrick said in an interview with journalist Wesley Lowery. “What this plan is saying is that we also want the police to show up less — and that’s a radical thing for a city and a mayor to do.”

If Myrick’s goal is to have police show up less, he should then tell residents to stop calling for them. Let’s see the reaction to that.

Retired Ithaca Police Chief Harlin R. McEwen recently penned an op-ed for the Ithaca Voice where he argued that “abolishing the city police department is not the answer.”

“I’ve talked to many of them — I’ve talked to the chief, and others,” McEwen explained. “The mayor says that they were included in discussions, but they really weren’t included in a meaningful way. The proposal to abolish the department and recreate a new department was basically from the mayor, and he did not inform them of that proposal, nor have any discussion with them about it. So it was a total surprise to them. They first learned about it in the GQ article.”

Myrick later issue an apology for the premature participation in the interview with GQ, and clarified that the need for former officers to reapply for these positions was not true.

“The Ithaca Police Benevolent Association has slammed Myrick’s proposal as an ‘underhanded and obvious attempt to bust the union,’ considering the city and IPBA have been at an impasse on labor negotiations since 2012, leaving officers without a raise for nearly a decade. Myrick has denied the claim, saying he doesn’t think he has the legal authority to eliminate the union. But McEwen said he is worried that replacing the police chief with a civilian public-safety director leaves policing vulnerable to political pressure,” NR reported.

“They would have no civil service tenure, or protection, or status. They would be strictly a puppet, and wouldn’t be able to independently operate a professional department,” he stated.

McEwen went on to say that “many” members of the police department “are already starting to think about applying to other places.”

“They’re just so disturbed about the way they’re being treated, primarily by the mayor and some of these local activists that are so nasty,” he stated, going on to add that “there’s no question in my mind that all of this is weighing on” Nayor — who announced he back in January that he would be retiring in the coming months.

 

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