"Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.”
This quote from William James is necessary during a time of difficult moments. As Rocky Mount city manager, it is always easy to boast about the many positive aspects of our area, such as an evolving downtown, a wonderful Rocky Mount City Sports Complex which is also a premier facility for tournaments, an Imperial Centre that offers programs for all ages, championship sports teams, historical landmarks, beautiful parks and colleges that produce competitive graduates. However, it would also be negligent on my part to shy away from those issues that will face any metropolitan area, including Rocky Mount.
First, I would like to offer my condolences to the families who have lost loved ones to gun violence. Recently, our community has lost four young men to such violence and we pray and grieve with the families over the senseless loss of life.
The Rocky Mount Police Department is working diligently to solve these crimes. We are also using our resources to target specific crimes and illegal activity. We will utilize the men and women of the Rocky Mount Police Department to reduce crime, and in the past two years, we have seen a reduction in violent crimes.
Nevertheless, the responsibility is not solely in the hands of law enforcement. Rocky Mount is our community, and community is a word that should engage all individuals, from residents within the city limits of Rocky Mount to those in Nashville, Red Oak, Whitakers and other surrounding areas. The issues must be addressed in a comprehensive manner, and we all have a role to play. Your involvement in community policing will help us to develop solutions to the problems and proactively address the issues which contribute to the cause of crime.
Providing tips to police and neighborhood vigilance are also essential in ending these public safety issues, as well as your engagement in established City programs. For example, the Rocky Mount Citizens Police Academy educates all citizens on the operations of the Rocky Mount Police Department. By participating, you will learn how to make our City safer. Community Watch has elicited the participation of neighbors who have an interest in reducing crime and enhancing the quality of life in our communities. Your involvement in these and many other activities will bring positive results.
Although there is no one key to resolving our problems, the City of Rocky Mount is only one aspect. We need parents, grandparents, businesses, churches, schools, community groups and many other organizations’ combined efforts for a resolution. We must think outside the box to develop innovative approaches to address community concerns and not waste such valuable human capital. The possibilities for our area are limitless. First, we must work together. If you love your community, get engaged and fight for it.
We should use the recent events as a call to action to make a difference in the lives of all young people in Rocky Mount.