Residents not pleased with decision on narcotics unit
Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, March 23, 2016
We are appalled by the University of Mississippi’s decision to continue support for the Lafayette County Metro Narcotics Unit and its controversial Confidential Informant program.
Numerous news organizations have documented the dangers of the CI program, in which low-level offenders are recruited to perform the most dangerous type of police work with neither proper training nor protection. Furthermore, the hazards are not limited to informants. The atmosphere of suspicion and paranoia generated by the CI program engenders violence and endangers lives. At least one recent death in our community has been attributed to this. Chris Poole was murdered by a drug dealer who reportedly suspected him of ‘snitching.’ How many more lost and ruined lives will be considered acceptable collateral damage on the local front of the failed “War on Drugs?”
The recent personnel changes and promised revisions in practices at Metro Narcotics have been cited as reasons to continue support. While those actions are commendable, the track record of the university and its partners is not one to instill confidence that real reform will occur. The university was made aware of problems with Metro Narcotics years ago, but took no actions to rectify them until journalists, including those from 60 Minutes, exposed them to public view.
The former head of Metro Narcotics, Keith Davis, was allowed to continue his tenure for two and a half years after he was recorded making terroristic threats against a student, and he remains a law enforcement officer. The university’s disinterest in exercising proper oversight and ensuring accountability for Metro Narcotics until it received negative publicity naturally leads us to question its priorities. By all appearances, the University of Mississippi is more concerned about its public image than the safety of its students and other community members.
Ole Miss, you are better than this.
The Lafayette County Libertarian Party Executive Committee
Alison Kinnaman, Chairman
Matt Johnson, Vice Chairman
Rick Feingold, Treasurer
Vance Justice, Secretary
Josh Havens, Media Director