Several months ago, the Whitewater City Council was moving aggressively in the direction of changes to the Whitewater Police Department. This was a time that many other progressive city leaders across the country was considering such radical ideas as defunding their own police departments.
When this was going on, I did an open records request for emails concerning these discussions. The Whitewater City Council had their proclamation and started their EO Committee. I asked repeatedly of City Council Chair Lynn Binnie if this committee would lead to considerations to defunding the police in Whitewater. Binnie’s response to me was a solid yes, that he personally was not ruling out such radical ideas.
The movement to defund the police has all but died over the last few months across America. The pushback from common sense Americans has been assertive and firm.
My open records request revealed that the City Council had been working with UW-W Chief Diversity Officer Kenny Yarbrough.
I went back and forth with Dr. Yarbrough via email for some time. I asked him if his intention was to defund Whitewater’s police. I also asked him a relatively personal question imho …. where does Grace fit in to all this year’s activities.
I finally sat down with Dr. Yarbrough a few weeks ago. In my humble opinion, we had a great conversation:
- Dr. Yarbrough told me several personal stories of prejudice in his life. He told me of stories that included being constantly stopped by police for no apparent reason.
- Dr. Yarbrough told me that he did feel that minority students in Whitewater had reason to believe they were targeted.
- Kenny (Dr. Yarbrough) told me he was disappointed that the Peace March a couple months ago had many hecklers.
- Dr. Yarbrough is a man of Faith, and he and I discussed the place for Grace in all of this. He has felt the need for action on several occasions.
- Kenny also expressed to me the need for minorities on such things as city commissions and such.
- Dr. Yarbrough expressed virtually no interest to me in defunding Whitewater’s police department. Clear to me was this was not on his mind.
I am certainly not an expert on race relations, and even touching upon this makes me nervous. Our society, with it’s thought police and cancel culture… they don’t help out much.
Dr. Yarbrough brings a lot to the table for the university and hopefully for our community. I find him to be a man of much integrity and heart. Clear to me is that his life has given him perseverance.
My notes regarding our conversation:
- Taking action is always something in my life I consider with much prayer and petition to God. I have found myself taking action many times in a way that lacks Grace. These situations never end well for me.
- I found legitimacy in his claims in the past about mistreatment from police. No coincidence that later that week, I had a good friend reinforce these type of stories in an unlikely manner.
- The relationship between police and minorities is truly broken. I do not believe that blame helps the situation. Much like any violently broken relationship, nothing (NOTHING) can resolve this except GRACE. Treat that enemy with Grace. Jesus says love your enemies. And yes, there will be casualties. We live in a sinful world. One has to believe that acting with Love is more important than winning a short term battle. Just my opinion….
My final statement is directed towards our progressive City Council. Noteworthy to me is Yarbrough’s lack of desire to defund our police. It is unfortunate that Binnie does not feel the same way. Chasing progressive rainbows in such an unwise way does not show servant leadership to Whitewater. Hopefully we get new leadership sooner rather than later.