‘Change starts with us,’ Maine law enforcement leaders say

BAR HARBOR — Mount Desert Island’s law enforcement agencies are in full agreement with a joint statement issued today by Maine law enforcement agencies condemning the actions of the law enforcement officers responsible for the death of George Floyd last week in Minneapolis, said Chiefs Jim Willis of the Bar Harbor and Mount Desert Police Departments and Alan Brown of the Southwest Harbor Police Department.

“We cannot ignore the video or (Floyd’s) pleas for help,” the statement reads. “We must all learn from this and other tragic events so that they are never repeated. The pain and outrage across our country has led to violence, looting, and property damage. We, too, are outraged. There is no place for racism and police brutality in Maine or in our country. Maine law enforcement officers can and must do better.”

The joint statement from the Maine Chiefs of Police Association, the Maine Sheriffs Association, the Maine Prosecutors Association and the Maine Department of Public Safety was released following a conference call in which Willis, a former president of the Chiefs of Police Association, participated.

“We cannot change what happened, but we can look inward and forward,” the statement reads. “As community leaders, we are all accountable for the actions of our police officers … We recognize that change starts with us.

“We work every day to protect and serve every person in our great State. We strive to ensure that our police officers and prosecutors treat every person with respect, dignity, and fairness, without regard to race, religious beliefs, or socio-economic status.

“We can and will do this with your support, so that Maine never witnesses such a tragic and senseless death in any of our own communities.”

Locally, Willis said, “our agency is in full agreement with the statement and will be using it to help guide us forward.”

Liz Graves

Liz Graves

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander reporter and editor Liz Graves grew up in California and came to Maine as a schooner sailor.

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