SECURITY ISSUE RESPONSE OCT 16TH, 2023

I recently responded to a closed facebook group about the security measures at the Oct 14th Catawbafest , below is my response:
“I believe in our 2nd amendment rights and I am also a concealed weapon permit holder- I don’t know how this decision was made. I do also believe that public safety is a number one responsibility for city council. I would expect that the decisions made were from thoughtful consideration for public safety.”

To expand on that response, as citizens we expect our law enforcement to provide safe events and venues, and my response was that I would expect our city council would make decisions from thoughtful consideration. We should all expect that. The addition of security wanding and bag search was unexpected and, unless based on a specific threat, disproportionate to the event. Throwing out water (inconsistently from some experiences), wanding children and babies in strollers, throwing out pepper spray, searching wallets, were all an overreach. As I understand it, a third party company was hired to do the additional screening, this prompts the question of necessity and cost. Additional police presence, because of current events or larger than expected crowds may have been a more sufficient and appropriate response. This was the first time these additional measures were implemented in our city. Timely communication with and details would have served to give all of us additional time to voice our concerns and ask questions. Since the decisions were made during Executive Session, moving forward there is an opportunity to review the scope, the need, the response, and cost of the decision.

We have all learned by this experience what not to do. Going forward we should take care that communication is a vital part of any planning process, and that our police department should never be seen or felt to be a controlling resource, but one that we value for protection and safety, while we embrace the freedom of our Second Amendment to protect ourselves and our families.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and for caring enough to want to know my personal response. I will always do my best to understand, research and respond. All of us deserve decision making that is thoughtful and respectful.

If you have questions or want to have an additional discussion about this or any other topic that is being addressed via social media, please contact me directly. My cell number is 803 322-3479. This will also be posted on my website shortly. While I appreciate the ease of communication of social media, I will not be responding via comments. FB Post Link:  https://www.facebook.com/carmenmillerfortegacaycitycouncil/posts/pfbid0DJVLaDZLPiDPAnqfiE3UDKeJJjizqHsMYTkGjw1GwWJuccBxcmHUn2TXHE1rscFml

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