Council Member Michael Boylan’s abrupt departure from a council assignment that serves no constructive purpose should give the council president ample reason to disband a so-called “committee.”
It isn’t really a committee. The former council president just named two council members to hold “safer together workshops” to discuss complaints about policing. Boylan and Joyce Morgan got the assignment.
The main purpose the workshops have served is to allow liberals another sounding board — in addition to the media — for constant complaints about the police.
In a letter to Council President Sam Newby, Boylan said he doesn’t see a real path forward for tangible change.
The problem is the liberals have not shown any need for change or proposed any change that would improve law and order in Jacksonville.
Basically, they don’t like it when the police shoot people — even though in virtually every case the person shot is resisting arrest violently and sometimes attempting to kill a police officer.
A “final report” issued by the two council members was a classic example of academic doubletalk. It is filled with references to the late felon George Floyd and other facts and statistics unrelated to Jacksonville, and offers little of substance.
The lack of purpose apparently prompted Boylan to give up.
“The first series of workshops proved to be a great opportunity for learning from each other…for the community to see the many and varied ways the JSO seeks to engage citizens and for the JSO to garner a greater appreciation of how they are perceived in certain areas of our city. In my view those heartfelt discussions demonstrated to me that the instrument which I recommended at the end of the first set of workshops, a civilian policy review board, would be a way to continue building mutual respect and understanding,” Boylan wrote.
“It became more than evident to me at our meeting on Friday (10/15/2021) that most of the citizens actively participating in these discussions are either unwilling or unable to demonstrate such trust.”
A group called the Northside Coalition has dominated the committee’s meetings, criticizing the Sheriff’s Office, primarily for opposing the creation of a citizen review board. Such boards have been established in cities dominated by Democrats, and have not been shown to have any value other than to further political agendas.
It would be a group of unelected laymen, with no authority, that would be redundant and unnecessary. There already are established and workable procedures to review police conduct through the sheriff’s office and State Attorney’s Office.
Sheriff Mike Williams has fired more than 60 officers since taking office.
In addition, aggrieved citizens have civil courts available to them for redress.
Invective of the activists against the police at last Friday’s meeting seems to have been the last straw for Boylan.
“While I understand their passion, I cannot be party to an effort where individuals use the forum to make disparaging assertions and unwarranted accusations towards fellow citizens who have chosen to protect and serve them, particularly when Director Bruno and others from the JSO have conducted themselves professionally throughout,” Boylan wrote.
FOP President Steve Zona told Eye that he did see some helpful suggestions in the workshop report. “One of the good things is they want to tackle some of the issues of mental health. That is not a law enforcement issue, but is a community issue we support.”
But he sees no value in a citizen review board.
“We are thankful Councilman Boylan saw what we have been seeing for years out of these activists,” Zona said. “They don’t want a solution, they want an issue and they want control.”
Boylan said, “I have been clear all along that I would not support a civilian incident review board. Given the current environment, I no longer believe a civilian policy review board would prove to be successful or even acceptable to those seeking the creation of the incident review board.”
If he wants to promote unity and harmony, Newby should stop the workshops.