Public service about serving "for all the people"


Have you ever been listening to a speaker and realize they just said what has been on your mind for several days?

It happened to me recently when I heard a speaker from the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy say “For all the people.” I know you are really here for the next few paragraphs and not so much to read as I wax philosophically so before I get lost, let me tell you about my week.

This week I sat down with the governor’s office to discuss what is going on here in Seymour. After we finished with all the formal affairs from both sides, we did have a chance to take a quick stroll through the downtown and discuss other issues we are facing.

A few of those extra stroll topics were murals, and the benefit they add to communities, and vacant buildings, and what other towns are having success with when it comes to filling them.

We also talked about how COVID has affected not just downtown businesses but businesses statewide. Special shout out to the Fussy Pup for the gift of an Indiana-made, Indiana-shaped copper cookie cutter.

Every week I spend part of a day with a city department. This week it was Seymour Police Department.

What I can learn in our short visits is nothing compared to what they have learned during years of service, but it does help me understand some of what they deal with day to day. After trying to locate a dog in an abandoned house (with no luck), we moved on to help a disabled motorist.

Then after a short amount of patrolling, the next call came in. As we pulled up to the scene, 20-30 individuals all were waiting and wanting to share their two cents about the incident.

This is the point that officers really have to start listening and seeing what is the problem. Half the people see it one way while the other half share a story that is from a different view. Most aren’t really trying to be deceptive as they give information; they are simply sharing it from their viewpoint. As the sharing continues our officers have to make sometimes split second decisions as to what the facts are and how best to proceed. To all officers, not just those with SPD, I do not envy your job. Keep your heads up; you are appreciated by many who don’t think to let you know.

Thank you to the Seymour Chamber of Commerce for allowing me to be the guest speaker at the “power lunch.” I enjoyed not only talking about housing and Seymour’s needs in relation to it, but also taking questions from those in attendance.

Back to the phrase “for all the people.” I have never wanted to serve as mayor to help just a select few.

I recently took a moment to remind a group of youth that if the phrase “those people” crossed their minds or their lips, they needed to take a serious pause and reconsider.

For someone we are all “those people,” and we shouldn’t be.

As I have filled vacancies on boards and committees, I have always tried to find people that remember they are not just in place for “their people.” I have tried to find individuals that are “for all the people” when they make decisions.

I understand if you are more familiar with this than that, but never should it take priority over another issue. This week I have taken some heat for questions related to three projects parks and recreation is working to complete. As we have been working on these projects, it has never been about finishing one project over another. It has been about finishing all three projects for three very different user groups. This is how we serve “for all the people.”

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