On June 4, 2020, Greg received an email from a constituent with questions about current events unfolding nationally. Below is Greg's response to that constituent's outreach...
Thank you for reaching out to me. Considering the death of George Floyd and the protests taking place here and across the country, I can certainly understand your feelings and concerns. I want to clearly state that what happened to Mr. Floyd is more than inexcusable. Kneeling on a person’s neck is not acceptable. I found myself watching the video in disgust and disbelief over what I was seeing.
I grew up in East Akron during the 1970s. I saw firsthand how my Black neighbors were treated by some members of law enforcement. It angered me then and it still angers me today. There is nothing more a good cop hates than a bad cop. Law enforcement professionals understand that unjust policing reflects negatively on everyone in law enforcement.
During my time at the Portage County Sheriff's Office conduct of this nature - including excessive use of force - was not tolerated. As Chief Detective, one of my responsibilities was to investigate citizen complaints. I can say with pride that very few complaints were filed with the Sheriff's Office and those that were received thorough investigation. Those that know me and worked for me know that I have no tolerance for inappropriate behavior on the job. When I say behavior, this is not just related to the use of force. This also includes how law enforcement interacts with the public no matter the color of their skin or their background.
Leadership comes from the top. The Deputies working for me will be a reflection of the values I bring to the Sheriff’s Office. In my experience of 24 years, the vast majority of law enforcement personnel I’ve worked with were honest, hardworking, and dedicated to enforcing the laws in a fair and balanced way. The public outrage over Mr. Floyd’s death should send a loud and clear message to police departments that officers can and should be held accountable for their actions.
From the start of my campaign for Sheriff, I have stated the following goals:
1) To pursue certification for the Sheriff's Office through the Ohio Collaborative. The Ohio Collaborative was created in 2015 to establish state standards and policies for law enforcement agencies. The Collaborative works closely with the community and law enforcement to establish these standards and policies. The Portage County Sheriff's Office is one of the few law enforcement agencies in the county not participating in this program.
2) To pursue accreditation for the jail operations. My goal is not just to operate a jail but to run a corrections operation that meets state and national accreditation standards.
3) To establish a Sheriff Citizens Academy and Sheriff Advisory Board from various sectors of our community. Representation would include local government, business, community leaders, social services and youth organizations. This would allow the community to see and learn firsthand about law enforcement in general and the operations of the Sheriff's Office. The Advisory Board would give direct input on ideas for community engagement, feedback and collaboration.
The actions of the officers in Minneapolis - and others like them - have long-lasting effects on the community’s trust in law enforcement. I truly hope that these horrific events can be a wake-up call that helps create positive change in police departments across the country.
Thank you again, for reaching out to me.