No more Mayberry

Published 8:00 pm Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Editor, Smithfield Times,


This past Monday, I attended the Isle of Wight Citizens Association Candidate Forum for several of the candidates. The candidates all were asked a variety of questions from the audience and fielded by the moderator. Of interest to many in the audience was the School Resource Officers in our schools. Both Sheriff Marshall and the challenger, Russell Stephenson were asked if they would continue the program. Sheriff Marshall stated that he supports the program and that he has SROs in the high schools and middle schools. Russell Stephenson, stated that he would place SRO’s in all schools. When asked how he intended to fund his proposal he replied possibly with grants and that the rest of his plan was “secret.” The entire audience was stunned by his reply. When given an opportunity to reconsider his response by the moderator, he choose to state that he did not want to reveal his plan until after the election. Really, what can be so “secret” about stating his plan to the people he proposes to represent? Stephenson’s literature professes to “move the office to a higher level.” With his response at the forum, I am afraid he either has no plan and has thrown that out in an effort to create a platform or he intends to maintain a closed door approach with his style of management. Frankly there is too much of both in government. Hiding behind some secret plan is not my idea of transparent government.

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I liked Sheriff Marshall’s candor about staffing and the fact that he has SROs in the high schools and middle schools. It is obvious to me that Sheriff Marshall truly understands that he is accountable to the citizens. Let’s not go back to a Mayberry work ethic. Let’s make sure we continue the excellent professionalism and standards that have been shown for the last 4 years. My vote on Nov. 3 will reflect that.


Martha Ford Jackson