WOODSTOCK, Ga. - After watching the brutal death of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers in May, Woodstock Police Chief Calvin Moss took to Facebook in June to pen a candid commentary writing, "Those Minneapolis officers either forgot that sacred Oath or never understood the importance of it in the first place."
"When something's wrong, it's clearly wrong. Not to politicize it. That's not what this is about, but simply having that tough conversation and calling it what it is. I think it's critical that when we see something that is clearly inappropriate, that we are willing to say that's indeed the case," the Chief told FOX 5's Portia Bruner. "The use of any kind of chokehold or neck restraint hasn't been our policy here for far, far better than a decade. So, it was a little surprising for us to see what happened there," he added.
Chief Moss said, in the interest of transparency, he decided to go beyond sharing his personal views and share his police department's arrest and use-of-force statistics from 2019--1,435 arrests with 48 incidents, or 3%, involving some type of force.
"Our use of force numbers are low and I'm reasonably comfortable with those. We endeavor in every situation to try to de-escalate a situation and the use of force should come as a last resort," said Chief Moss, who was hired eight years ago following a three-decade career at the Atlanta Police Department.
The chief said he took matters even one step further--reviewing the Woodstock Police Department's Use-of-Force policy and exploring additional training opportunities for his officers.
"Anytime there's an incident of such significance as the one in Minneapolis, it's incumbent upon us to examine all of what we do and teach," said Moss. Police officers do make mistakes, but there are so many more daily interactions that law enforcement has with citizens that are positive and that are for the right reasons and done in the right way. I think it's important that we don't lose sight of that," said Moss.
The chief's Facebook comments drew lots of positive feedback from the public. He said he also hopes it builds trust between civilians and his officers and creates more opportunities for more candid conversations as the nation grapples with use-of-force issues.
"It really boils down to breaking the barriers, having the conversations, and being accessible. That's what we try really hard to do. I think that's where the future of American law enforcement needs to go. For law enforcement to remain respected by our citizens, we have to respect our citizens and trust is absolutely critical," said the Woodstock Police Chief.