Letter to the Editor

Citizens should voice opinions

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dear Editor:

My name is Rachel Corn. I have lived in Seligman my entire life. My family has been here for generations, and I am the late Duane Corn's niece.

Lately, it has been widely debated whether or not our current police department is being effectively and properly implemented. In the past year, there have been numerous complaints of their job performance and its effects on the local citizens, with examples being too little coverage when we need it most, too much coverage when we do not and even drug trafficking once again rampant with not enough being done about it, just to name a few.

However, with that being said, many people are hesitant to voice their opinions to the council or to the current police department. They are scared that either no one will listen to them, or that they will be harassed for speaking against the department.

My own opinion on this is simple: the citizens of this town pay the taxes and they should have a say. Being a good citizen means to stand up and make your complaints known to someone who can actually help. The council was elected to represent the people in our town. They should listen to our ideas on how to improve the city, to not take them as an insult to their own opinions, but be more open to suggestions and keep an open mind.

I am not saying that the police department is not doing anything at all. Obviously there are tickets being written and arrests are being made, which is a good thing. However, it is my opinion that it can be much better. It just takes work.

Currently Seligman's police department is being run strictly by part-time officers. They make their own hours and work when, and if, they can. In fact, for the past seven weekends there have been no officers on duty on Thursday, Friday or Saturday nights (when we need it most).

It was just at the last city council meeting that Officer Randy Kalbaugh admitted that the reason for this is that all the officers have other full-time, more important jobs, and that by the time they are on duty for Seligman they are all burnt out, tired and worn down.

Not only does that stress affect the officers, but more importantly, the City of Seligman. It weakens the officers' awareness, dedication, functioning, judgment and ability to make proper and fair decisions. Not only that, but it also severely impairs officer safety, which is a risk that should not be taken. Well meaning or not, it is an accident waiting to happen.

So, fellow citizens, ask yourself: How do you feel about the current Seligman Police Department? Do you feel that the city is doing all that it can to provide the town with the best possible police department? Do you feel that your tax money is being put to good use by employing our current officers? What changes, if any, would you personally like to see in order to improve Seligman's police department?

I know that everyone has their own divided opinions. However, I also feel that it is up to us to come together and think of solutions to the problems. The ultimate goal is to help Seligman, to make it a better place for everyone who lives here. Our recently elected mayor, who I feel will do a great job in helping this goal become more of a reality, is not enough alone. He needs the support of the citizens. Without that support not much can be done.

I would like to remind everyone that the city council meetings are there for all to attend. They are held the second Monday of every month at 6 p.m. I encourage everyone to attend the next meeting and make their opinions clear. However, if you cannot make it, feel free to contact me and I will do my best to make your voice be heard. You can contact me on Facebook or call me at 479-936-6218.

Thank you,

Rachel Corn

Seligman, Missouri