Message from the Chief
To the Greater Wendell Community:
Let me start of by saying that on behalf of myself and the men and women of the Wendell Police Department, there are no simple phrases, apologies or statements that are adequate as we react to what happened to George Floyd. We, like all ethical, law-abiding public servants, watched with the public in horror and disgust the wrongful killing of Mr. Floyd and reject the notion that such actions reflect our call to service. Such actions reflect poorly on the many women and men in public service that uphold high levels of ethics and who stand before you committed to change. Town Manager Collins and I agree that all public servants should be held accountable for illegal acts if and when they occur. We also insist that any system that provides unequal justice based on race or any protected class needs critical and timely reform to ensure trust and equity in the application of the law.
Town of Wendell leadership, to include myself, remain committed to providing the most ethical unbiased law enforcement services possible while treating everyone with the dignity and respect. We ascribe to the values and expectations of many professional organizations, many of whom have already spoke very directly and succinctly to what happened to Mr. Floyd.
Our Mayor, Virginia R. Gray, was one of more than 70 Mayors across the state that signed a statement released by the North Carolina Mayor’s Association on the Murder of George Floyd says in part:
“As mayors of cities in North Carolina, we have come together to express our abhorrence of the horrific murder of George Floyd, an act of unspeakable violence, cold inhumanity and racism. The photographic evidence of this act speaks for itself. Mr. Floyd was suffocated to death by a Minneapolis police officer while pleading for his life as three other officers knelt or stood by and did nothing to help him, even as he called out, "I can't breathe." As a society, we cannot tolerate this kind of police violence rooted in systemic racism. As mayors, we work closely with the police leadership in our cities, and we know that they also will not tolerate this kind of police violence and racism within their forces. Such acts not only harm innocent people, but they also deeply erode trust in our police forces, despite the good work of so many officers every day-officers who themselves abhor the racism and violence so evident in the death of George Floyd.
I believe this is a sentiment that is shared by most public servants as they go about daily serving their communities and one that I endorse entirely. Recognizing the need for processional unbiased policing as part of best, and in fact, essential practices, I am and have been a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the North Carolina Association of Chiefs of Police (NCACP) for a number of years. Both released statements which take a strong position regarding the tragedy that unfolded in Minneapolis which state the position of professional law enforcement well. Links to these statements can be found below.
In 2019, the Town of Wendell Mayor and Board of Commissioners adopted a Strategic Plan to guide the future of the Town and provide direction for staff. There are a number of Goals and policy actions adopted, with many focused on the delivery of high quality un-biased professional law enforcement services centered around community engagement. For more information on these initiatives, please click here.
Often, as we go about our day as public servants, we take for granted that the public is aware of the ongoing efforts of the Town to not just maintain, but grow and improve the services and relationships with the community we serve. More so than ever, recent events have made it important to emphasize that while we are not perfect and there remains work to be done, we have been and will continue actively working to improve as individuals, as an organization and as representative of the community we all share. It is equally important that we work to highlight these efforts and progress to shine a clear light on the progress we have made and the work to be done.
I thank you for the opportunity to serve all our community and invite you to reach out, ask questions and/or provide input as we work as hard as ever to build relationships and to restore trust.
William I. Carter
Chief of Police