As the elected leaders for the Town of Davidson, our priority is to make this community the best it can be for all our residents. Together, we have sought to make policy decisions that make Davidson a wonderful and safe environment. 2020 has forced us to face new challenges, including a global pandemic that disproportionately impacts people of color. Meanwhile, the same issues that people of color have faced year after year continue to impact our community. Black, brown and indigenous peoples have continually needed to fight for the things the rest of us take for granted in our privilege.
We, as the Town of Davidson Board of Commissioners, condemn the police brutality against George Floyd and any other individual in this country. We grieve these acts and reaffirm our pledge as your elected officials to ensure this unacceptable behavior does not occur in Davidson. We are confident in the high standards of the Davidson Police Department. The department was the first in Mecklenburg County to be outfitted with body cameras in 2014, and the cameras were upgraded to an automatic system this year. Employee performance is tracked, and annual public reports on complaints and internal investigations are published to meet national accreditation standards. We encourage everyone to read the recent statement from Davidson Chief of Police Penny Dunn here to learn more about the values of the department and the de-escalation training our officers complete.
That said, we do not wish to exonerate the Town of Davidson from our role contributing to structural and institutional racism. To do such would be offensive. Systematic racism exists across this country and Davidson is no exception. We must make an active effort to better understand and fully recognize the racial divide in our town, state, and country. We must engage in this critical work while acknowledging our privilege and addressing the lack of diversity on our board and advisory boards. We must engage wholeheartedly in this work with a deep commitment to racial healing in order to take steps to build the community we have long said we want to be.
This work isn’t completed overnight. This work will be backbreaking, emotional, and demanding for all involved. This work is also utterly necessary -- and long overdue. We recognize COVID-19 limits the ways in which many of us feel comfortable gathering together to peaceably demonstrate. Still more, it limits how we can continue the conversations we must have across town to work towards a more equitable and just community for all. And, it impacts the critical need to build staff capacity for creating new programs and strategies for equity and inclusion, as well as affordable housing. But just because things are more difficult does not mean we are giving up. We commit to accelerating our work to add a racial equity lens to our programs, policies and practices as a first step towards dismantling racism as an institution. We would encourage our partners in the community to join us in this effort.
The board also makes a simple but important commitment to you, our residents and our businesses, particularly those of you who are people of color, that we will listen to your voices. We see you. We can and must do better. We need the community to help us shape the future of Davidson to be better than the past and the present. Please join us.
Mayor Rusty KnoxCommissioner Jane CampbellCommissioner Jim FullerCommissioner Matthew FortCommissioner Autumn Rierson-MichaelCommissioner David Sitton