"We will do this carefully, and we will do this respectfully so we can attempt to move forward as a community," Town Administrator
Last week, Fire Chief
The flags flown by
Want news like this sent straight to your inbox? Head over to PatriotLedger.com to sign up for alerts and make sure you never miss a thing. You pick the news you want, we deliver.On Tuesday, more than 80 residents called in to the
"This narrative highlights an assumed difference between officers and citizens, and the idea that police officers need to walk a line between chaos and order, which in my opinion perpetuates an "us versus them" mentality," he said. "It doesn't help build support in our communities between the officers and the public."
The discussion lasted nearly 90 minutes.
"I think that fairly proves the point that it was wise for our selectboard and for our chiefs to distance themselves from this particular flag," she said.
In response, Mayo said town officials would "look into this occurrence to see if any policies have been violated and take appropriate action," promising to do so "in a respectful manner."
Tensions throughout the country have risen around policing as protesters call for reexamination of the justice system in the wake of recent police killings of unarmed Black Americans. Their deaths have highlighted what many point to as systemic racism in the levers of power in the
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The fact that officers have had to perform all their duties during the pandemic is just one example of the intense pressure that comes with the job, he said. The "social unrest" in recent weeks has also placed increased stress on officers.
Officers are "trying to figure out. . . Why we're being held responsible for something that doesn't happen in
Fire Chief Murphy spoke briefly during the meeting to answer a question about how long the flags have flown on
"I think it's important to act consistently," she said.
Power said the town has historically been a bastion of "civil discourse," and urged residents to uphold that tradition during this latest debate.
"I think when things get divisive, they get in the way of listening, understanding and working together to find a path forward, which has really been the hallmark of this town for nearly 400 years," she said.
Selectmen said in their joint statement that they have "stood with our men and women in blue" in response to the recent questions around policing. The statement also condemned threats levied at the resident who initially requested the flags be taken down. Since the request has gone public, the resident has faced "ceaseless and vicious" harassment, including threats to his life and harassment that has expanded to his family, selectmen said.
"Such conduct debases any attempt at public discourse and makes hypocrites of those who would call for respect for public safety officers while simultaneously threatening the safety of others," the statement said.
Patriot Ledger reporter
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