Having served as your police chief for the past eight months, I'm proud of the improvements made on my watch. Violent crime is down 3 percent, and that means we're headed in the right direction. While that's an excellent start, it still falls short of what I believe law enforcement can and should be doing. Because in my book, even 500 murders a year is too many.
Maybe I'm old-fashioned, or what they call these days a hopeless idealist. Or maybe I'm just guilty of caring too much. But I find 1.4 brutal killings a day darn near unacceptable in a community of 7,500.
I suppose in a lot of American towns it's to be expected that, each year, one in every 15 or so people will be gunned down in their own homes, or have their throat viciously slashed from ear-to-ear while walking down the street in broad daylight. But I want to change that type of thinking.
It's my goal, as your police chief, to succeed where my 32 slain predecessors have failed.
If we all work together, I believe we can get our annual murder numbers down below the 400 mark. That may seem like wishful thinking, but I'm happy to report my department has already made some progress.
For starters, we've finally captured the Underpass Strangler—though, admittedly, only one of the half-dozen copycat killers he's inspired—and that in itself is an important step, considering that he alone was responsible for an average of 19 murders a year. We've also started to monitor those citizens believed to be at high risk for committing murders, such as Lawrence Mulaney of 324 Reston St., who recently bought a machete and has been doing a lot of digging at night.
In addition, we've shut down all access to the roof of the city library, which means you won't have to pick up the newspaper and read how, once again, someone climbed up there with a sniper rifle and picked off a dozen or more bystanders. In fact, I can promise that you won't be reading anything at all about murder in the local paper, because last week the Gazette's newsroom was pelted with Molotov cocktails and the entire staff died.
Remember, the town's population is significantly lower this year, so as long as the murder rate doesn't go up, there will be fewer total homicides.
I am not naïve, however. I'm well aware that most of you are still going to lose a family member or loved one to a messy decapitation in the next year. But if I can keep it to just one, I'll know I'm doing my job and making a difference. Two is probably more realistic, but we can't continue to settle for what's become the status quo for beheadings around here.
Let me be perfectly clear with you murderers and potential murderers out there: Some of you will no longer be allowed to operate with total impunity. Mitch Roberts, of course, is excepted, since he is insane and frankly too scary for us to even try and deal with.
To this end, I've adopted new policies to root out corruption within the police department itself. It shames me to tell you this, but after an internal investigation, we've found—well, let's just say you wouldn't believe me if I told you how many murderers were on the force. But no more. Following a brief amnesty period, every officer will be expected to follow a strict "no murdering" code of conduct.
And that includes me. I could stand to cut back on murders myself. That's what my wife would tell you if she were here today. My kids, too.
We can make this town a safer, better place, but we have to do it as a community—and that means all of us. Except Gina Scharff, who I see has just been bludgeoned to death with a rusty lead fire poker.