Thanks, Chief Reed

Published 5:07 pm Thursday, March 1, 2012

Washington lost a good man and excellent police chief when Mick Reed worked his last day for the city Wednesday.

Reed left without much fanfare, which is not surprising. That’s how he wanted it. Because they respect him so much, the Washington Police Department’s officers and other personnel abided by his wishes, throwing a small, intimate going-away party at the police station Tuesday.

Reed was an effective advocate for and practioner of community policing. The Project Next Step program he helped usher into the city continues to prove effective in fighting crime. As we’ve reported in the past, the data show major crimes in the city have decreased in the past three years.

On Dec. 3, 2010, Project Next Step received an Award of Excellence at the North Carolina Governor’s Crime Commission’s Safe Communities Conference in Greensboro. The award recognizes agencies that make achievements in improving the criminal-justice system, establishing safer communities and improving the quality of life for North Carolina residents.

One of the key roles of a local government is ensure the public’s safety. Reed and his department were doing an excellent job of ensuring the public’s safety. By losing Reed, the city’s effort to ensure the public’s safety is diminished.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out Reed became frustrated with the city dragging its feet on building a new police station, which city officials acknowledged is needed. There’s no doubt Reed was frustrated with an effort that took a look at outsourcing the department’s law-enforcement duties and 911 function to the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office.

Handcuffed by the decisions and actions taken by some city officials, Reed’s frustration is understandable. Place enough hurdles in a man’s path, and he’s likely to find another path to take him to where he wants to go.

It’s a shame the situation developed to the point Reed felt he had no other option than to resign.