A Community Statement Against Hate & Racism
A Message from Mayor Mike Smith, Miami University President Greg Crawford, and NAACP President, Fran Jackson:
As our community and nation continue to witness brutal acts of racism, hate, and bias, we grieve the brutal killing of George Floyd, and so many others before him. The City of Oxford, the Oxford NAACP, and Miami University stand in solidarity in unequivocally condemning hatred, bigotry, racism, injustice, and acts of senseless violence.
It has long been time for transformative change, now more than ever it is time to come together and focus on our core values which define us. Values centered on creating a just society for all. Together we will work to make Oxford, Ohio our nation’s most welcoming college town, a community devoted to equity, diversity, and inclusion.
We thank the local citizens who stepped up and organized a vigil on Monday, June 8th in the uptown parks at 7:00 p.m. and invite all to come together as a community, to support each other and to memorialize George Floyd and the many others directly impacted by this violence.
A Message from our Chief of Police, John Jones:
As the Chief of Police for the Oxford Division of Police, I feel it is important to communicate with you my feelings on the recent death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the effects it has on the Oxford community and the OPD.
What I saw in the George Floyd video does not represent the values of OPD and was indefensible, unjust, and inexcusable. The men and women who work here at OPD are disgusted by it and understand how much it sets back the progress we have strived for in our profession. This incident is not representative of how OPD conducts business or of law enforcement as a whole. I’ve had several questions about our policies and folks asking what our agency is doing to prevent something similar from happening. First off, we hold each other accountable and regardless of rank, I see great leadership in our officers. We strive to hire the very best people for this job. Whether it’s a civilian support position or a sworn police officer position, the selection process is rigorous and includes an intense background investigation, polygraph, and psychological examination. We recruit for diversity in ways beyond race, gender and ethnicity to include life experience and background. We hire men and women with good character and then train them for excellence. Training is highly important to us at OPD and we pride ourselves on not cutting corners in this area. We have high expectations for our employees and we hold them to highest moral and ethical standards.
We are an integral part of a community that values diversity, and we embrace that. We enjoy the opportunities that working in Oxford presents us to meet and interact with people of different backgrounds. We take a lot of pride in providing every citizen in Oxford high quality, professional police service, no matter their race, color, ethnicity, gender, religion, or any other factor. We are distraught when we hear of a tragedy like in Minneapolis which, even hundreds of miles away, can bring doubt and uncertainty to all we have worked to establish here in Oxford.
Making a positive connection and establishing a working relationship with our community have been priorities for OPD. Community policing has been our mainstay mission for over three decades. We truly believe Sir Robert Peel’s principle that “the police are the public and the public are the police” and that our role is one of a guardian to our community. We place a high value on the relationship we have with our community and we invest in it accordingly. We also have several ways for citizens to get involved by participating in our Citizens Police Academy, Citizens on Patrol, Coffee with a Cop or one of our other neighborhood meetings, Police Community Relations and Review Commission meeting, or simply engaging with us on social media. We also attempt to connect with our younger residents through Police Explorers career-orienting program, the annual Respect for Law camp, and Cops and Kids holiday events, to name a few.
We are a transparent organization and are proud of that. We certainly hope this terrible tragedy opens the lines of communications and we can all come to closer understanding of each other. We welcome the opportunity to talk, privately or publicly. Something good must come from this.