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Woodstock Police Chief: Actions of Minneapolis Police officers ‘absolutely indefensible’

Below is a letter written by Woodstock Police Chief Calvin W. Moss addressing the death of George Floyd.


Dear Citizens of Woodstock:

Over the last several days I have received letters, e-mails, and phone calls from Woodstock residents and people near and far, expressing concern about the events in Minneapolis, a week ago. I am grateful to each of them for trusting us to reach out.

I have had the honor of being a law enforcement officer for nearly forty years now and, suffice it to say, have seen far too many sad incidents and untimely deaths. I am intensely troubled by the video of the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd in Minneapolis, not only as a career police officer but as a citizen of our nation. The video is reprehensible and the actions – and inactions – of the involved officers are absolutely indefensible. 

As law enforcement officers, we all take an Oath to uphold the Constitution. Our charge is to protect the rights of all citizens and that duty is not vacated simply because someone is placed under arrest. Those Minneapolis officers either forgot that sacred Oath or never understood the importance of it in the first place. They failed Mr. Floyd and the very citizens they swore they’d defend, and they dishonored a profession that so many have given their lives to protect.

The video of Mr. Floyd’s death has had an enormous and irreversible effect on our nation’s peace officers, including the women and men of the Woodstock Police Department (WPD). It is our job to keep the peace, not to needlessly breach it. WPD responded to 31,946 dispatched calls for service in 2019 and, of the 1,435 arrests, 48 (3.3%) involved the use of some type of force. The arrestee was male in 82% of the cases and White in 67% of them. To promote transparency, our officers wear body cameras and supervisors routinely review the videos of their interactions with the public. In addition, all use of force situations are automatically reviewed by the supervisor and command staff, including me. Last year, an investigation revealed that one use of force was outside of policy. That officer is no longer with the department. 

The Woodstock Police Department is one of a small number of Georgia law enforcement agencies that is both a state certified and nationally accredited. As such, we are subject to annual review by the state certification panel and the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. Our training is second to none and we continually reinforce appropriate principles and techniques. While the State of Georgia requires each peace officer to undergo a minimum of 20 hours of training annually, our officers attended more than 150 hours each, on average, and our instructors taught 938 instructional hours last year. 

In short, we work very hard to promote the delivery of professional police services in Woodstock. We are committed to earning and keeping our citizens’ trust. 

Sincerely,

Calvin W. Moss
Chief of Police


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