Public needed to be helpers, not hindrance

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What’s the recipe for a thriving, successful community?

Crime, violence and a lack of cooperation are definitely not the right ingredients.

Unfortunately, some are trying to taint the community we love and call home. With four shootings and the firing of Barnwell’s police chief, it’s been a trying week in Barnwell County.

In some of the shooting cases, the victims and witnesses are not cooperating with police. No one saw anything or knows anything that can prove helpful in solving the case.

It’s a statement law enforcement officers in our community as well as other places are all too familiar with.

Why?

Sometimes people are truly scared to talk to the police and be seen as snitches because they believe their lives or those of their loved ones could be in danger. However, many people simply don’t trust the police and refuse to cooperate.

This does nothing positive for our community. It only promotes animosity and hampers our community from being the best we can be.

Law enforcement officers need the public’s help in order to be as effective as they can be in solving crimes and preventing others so they can keep our community safe.

It’s the recipe for success.

We understand that some people have a deep distrust of the police, especially after reported cases of police brutality in the national press. However, that is not an accurate picture of most officers. Most do what they do because they truly care and want to make a difference.

On a local level, Reuben Black’s termination this week as chief of the Barnwell Police Department has led some to post defamatory comments about police. While details of the State Law Enforcement Division’s investigation have not been made public yet, we understand SLED is handing it over to the solicitor’s office. This led Barnwell City Council to fire Black earlier this week.

However, we should not hate the police. Instead, residents and law enforcement officers should both work to form relationships and build a level of trust. A relationship of any kind means both parties need to work together through communication and cooperation. Cooperation is one ingredient that will keep the crime rate low. It’s especially needed in cases like the recent shootings.

To turn away is to let thugs take control over our lives through fear. Let’s get them off our streets and show that they need to respect the law-abiding public.

The shootings are also a reminder that violence is never the answer. At least one case involved an argument between two people, which never needed to escalate the way it did. However, the police were not called until after a shot was fired.

With the shootings and removal of Chief Black, it’s easy to believe that things have gotten a little messy in our small neck of the woods. While these occurrences can be unnerving, we should not dwell on the bad.

Instead, it’s important for our community to focus on who is working to make a positive difference in Barnwell County. Our officers are people who have chosen to put on a uniform and help society. They do a job that is tough but they need the public’s help to do it.

There plenty of examples of those making a difference in our community, such as Steven Brown and his crew at the Dreams, Imagination and Gift Development Program sponsoring the annual STEM Festival last weekend that proved to be a huge success. You can also look at our local school teachers who impact children daily, the law enforcement officers who keep us safe, firefighters and EMS who respond in times of need, and countless others who have started initiatives to help people. These are just a few examples.

So, how will you help Barnwell County move forward?

Be a helper, not a hindrance.