Fountain Inn Sets Up Civilian Review Board to Handle Non-Existent Police Abuse Problem

More taxpayer money well spent:

Residents with police complaints in Fountain Inn now have a place to air their side of the story.

Fountain Inn has set up a Police Review Committee made up of seven city residents who will review formal complaints against officers as well as cases where police officers use force.

Fountain Inn Police Chief Keith Morton welcomed the new committee saying it would help the Police Department be transparent.

“We’ve never had anything to hide at the Fountain Inn Police Department,” Morton said. “This is just an opportunity to let citizens from our community see what we do.”

Fountain Inn agreed to start a review panel after mediation between the city and members of its black community following the July 2007 hanging death of a black man in the city jail. Greenville County Solicitor Bob Ariail ruled the death of Richard “Jabo” Johnson, 25, Fountain Inn, a suicide, but citizen outcry led to involvement by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The new committee has great responsibilities, Mayor Gary Long said.

“We hope we don’t have to use it very often but when we do, at least we have one now that we have an appeal to go to,” Long said.

It took three years to establish the committee, partly because it took time for the two sides to agree on a list of criteria to be involved on the committee. Members must be a city resident, registered voter with a driver’s license, and must either have completed the Police Department’s Citizens Police Academy or pledge to complete it within one year, Morton said.

So…Fountain Inn was bullied into creating a bureaucracy hostile to law enforcement after a guy hung himself and the people who wanted the board actually fought the city on requirements that make sense, like understanding the law and police procedures. As of now the people who will handle civilian complaints against police have merely “pledged” they will take a course at the academy, but will begin their duties before doing so.

What could go wrong?

Here’s a question people should be asking. How much does this cost? Do these board members get paid? How will they conduct investigations? What’s their budget?

Cost should be first and foremost in residents minds. While the 2009 financial report Fountain Inn has available on their official site paints a rosy picture of economic stability (using some creative accounting) table A-2 (pg 7) shows that there is a declining trend in wealth generating private business activity and an increase in governmental expenditures.  Specifically, you’ll see that while governmental charges for services, government grants and property taxes have all increased by at least $500,000, private business activity (the fees the city collects from businesses) has decreased by more than $2,000,000. This would indicate to me that the city is raising taxes on businesses which are being forced to pick up the slack for businesses that have been hurt by the recession or have closed down completely. If that’s the case the loss in revenue will be worse for this year’s financial report.

Table A-2 also shows a decrease in government expenditure on city services with a simultaneous increase in charges on those services for private business. This doesn’t seem like a sustainable economic policy.

Table A-4 (pg 9) is more startling, showing that the city has racked up a little under $10,000,000 in long term debt which is a little more than 32% higher than the year before. At that rate, this year the outstanding debt will be over $13,000,000 but the city revenues may still be decreasing by almost 10%.

So again, does Fountain Inn have the resources to throw at what is at best a vanity project for political activists and at worse a money grab by opportunists which addresses a problem that may not even exist? I don’t think so, do you?

Comments

6 Responses to “Fountain Inn Sets Up Civilian Review Board to Handle Non-Existent Police Abuse Problem”

  1. Ft. Inn dude on August 30th, 2010 10:41 pm

    Greetings, I have a tip.

    You need to do a little more research before you write garbage like this Mr. Taylor.

    I know for a fact the board members DO NOT GET PAID. It is purely a voluntary commitment that the citizens agreed to serve as their civic duty. As for conducting investigations – they will not and you need to understand the facts. They will only REVIEW those complaints which are brought before the committee. They will have NO authority other than to review the actions of the police department when a valid complaint is submitted and report their findings to the Chief of Police. This advisory committee is something that the Chief of Police has always wanted in place and the DOJ also participated in its creation.

    And for your records and those who read this editorial of yours – all 7 members have completed the 13 week course to learn what law enforcement officers face while performing their duties.

    Have a good week.

  2. Rob Taylor on August 31st, 2010 12:57 pm

    Dear retard,

    Even if the people volunteer their time you understand that it cost money to run a board, no? That building space to hold meetings, phone lines and the various perks of being on the board will be paid for by a city that’s slowly going bankrupt?

    But why shouldn’t we take the word of an anonymous internet poster as to how much this will or won’t cost.

  3. Ft. Inn dude on September 5th, 2010 10:02 pm

    Thanks for the name calling Mr. Taylor. Shows your credibility as a writer. You seem to think just because you have a keyboard and an internet connection you have the right to post garbage and not expect someone to call you out? Or is it a weak and uneducated op-ed?

    Fact again: do some research. Do you know how many times this board meets and where? Does this board use the city’s phones – lol? And what perks are you referring to? So tell us Mr. Taylor, based on your research how much money does it cost to run a board?

    And we certainly shouldn’t take the word of an insensitive high school writer like yourself who has to resort to name calling. You know you’re wrong in this case. But that’s what most of the media is made up of today. Quit looking for some sort of conspiracy and report on the facts next time. So continue with your purpose whatever it may be.

    Good luck. And again, have a good week. All I’m asking is that before you claim Ft. Inn is going bankrupt, do your research and give better facts and include something that actually supports your argument.

    Peace

  4. Rob Taylor on September 6th, 2010 2:24 pm

    And posting anonymously on the web show yours.

    If you read you’ll see that I am using your precious towns public finance records to point out that business activity (taxpayers) have decreased their economic activity while government services (tax users) have increased. Now, I have a Masters but you don’t need one to figure this out:

    There are less people putting tax money into the town and those that are paying in have cut back their activity so they will pay less. (Laffer curve)

    There are more town government expenditures which, obviously, are reliant on tax revenue.

    The national economic forecast for next year is that revenues will continue to decline.

    So no matter how much a board costs (and if you read I asked how much, but even a free board must have phone lines, a meeting space, access to police officers, materials to produce reports etc) at some point Fountain Inn will be on the red on this feel good project.

    I went to a board of directors meeting at a non-profit to make a report and that meeting cost around $2500 all together. Granted that was in NYC but I seriously doubt that the average cost per year of you board will be under that.

    Why doesn’t this board make their budget available for the public?

  5. Fountain Inn Approves New Irresponsible Budget : Greenville Dragnet on October 25th, 2010 5:59 pm

    [...] As I said before Fountain Inn’s financial plans do not pass the Rob Taylor responsibility test: While the 2009 financial report Fountain Inn has available on their official site paints a rosy picture of economic stability (using some creative accounting) table A-2 (pg 7) shows that there is a declining trend in wealth generating private business activity and an increase in governmental expenditures.  Specifically, you’ll see that while governmental charges for services, government grants and property taxes have all increased by at least $500,000, private business activity (the fees the city collects from businesses) has decreased by more than $2,000,000. This would indicate to me that the city is raising taxes on businesses which are being forced to pick up the slack for businesses that have been hurt by the recession or have closed down completely. If that’s the case the loss in revenue will be worse for this year’s financial report. [...]

  6. Wouldn't you like to know. on October 26th, 2014 11:12 pm

    So… because you have a “Masters” degree means you KNOW that the police are 100% not guilty in this incident?

    Also, what does the economics have to do with this situation? The police in Fountain Inn get away with a lot of what many would consider crime, and being a police officer shouldn’t shield them from justice, and transparency. Besides, they shouldnt have to enquire about more funding for this, the police already nickel and dime everyone, from fines and fees, like 1930′s gangsters who tell people to pay tribute.

    I guess the point of your article is justice is only possible with money?

    “Sorry guys, but we can’t have transparency and justice, we just can’t do right because we can’t afford it”. That is basically what this article says.

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