Sheriff misinformed on BLM

Dear Editor:

It comes as a great surprise to me that Sheriff Scott Kane could get himself into such a knuckle-headed dilemma.

Black Lives Matter is not a “terrorist group.” It is not listed by any terrorist watch organization as such. It has promoted a process of reducing the funding of police departments and shifting those resources to more social support programs instead. This process is known as “defunding the police.” It is an idea. It is part of a national conversation. It is provocative and may contain valid points and proposals. It is a conversation to which one can listen. Listen!

Part of that conversation is another group of people at Healthy Acadia. They are known as recovery coaches. They are trying to help with reducing recidivism and long-term management of substance abuse, by trying to coach inmates in Sherriff Kane’s jail, our jail, so that they will have skills to pursue their lives while they deal with their disease of addiction. This is a good and valuable service. I think that Sherriff Kane understands that, as he has had the health coaches in our jail for years.

My understanding is that Sherriff Kane independently determined that he could no longer have people who openly support Black Lives Matter and/or the defund police movements serving in our jail. The decision was made in June of 2020. 

In a letter dated June 3, 2020, Chief Jack Peck, president of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association, stated, “We commit to remaining transparent and eliminating police cultures that condone any social injustices. We will continue to enhance our training to include important topics, such as implicit bias, to ensure that we support a system that guarantees equal justice under the law to every Maine resident.” It appears that Sheriff Kane has not been able to provide transparency for his decision as it, apparently, remained outside of public view for over six months. One might think that an elected official might desire the opportunity to share his reasoning as to why he made the decision that he did. He declined that opportunity at a virtual commissioners meeting a week ago. 

In Hancock County, perhaps a time has come to reconsider how public safety will be addressed and managed in the future. More funds to service providers like Healthy Acadia and less attention to helmets and batons might just be the way to proceed.

Jeff Milliken

East Blue Hill

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