MOUNT DESERT ISLAND — The Bar Harbor, Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor police departments are in full agreement with a joint statement issued June 3 by Maine law enforcement agencies condemning the actions of the law enforcement officers responsible for the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, said Chiefs Jim Willis and Alan Brown.
“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.
“The police department should be an extension of the community,” Willis said. “We should represent the community’s beliefs and carry them forward whenever we can. And I think that’s happening. If people have any kind of problem with us, I usually get a quick phone call, and I think people know that we’re gonna listen and we’re gonna look into it.”
“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.”
Locally, Willis said, “our agency is in full agreement with the statement and will be using it to help guide us forward.”