Editor: Last October, the majority of the Leesburg Town Council voted to enforce the vaccine mandate for government employees and subsequently seven Leesburg Police Officers were terminated in one form or another from the already depleted work force.
In my opinion, the risk they presented to the public, with routine testing was miniscule. More recently, only two councilwomen, Suzanne Fox and Kari Nacy, voted to reinstate these officers [under established hiring procedures], but this motion also was denied by the majority. Mere replacement hiring is insufficient to meet the high number of staff vacancies, currently at 21 positions, per Chief Gregory Brown’s May 22 presentation.
And now we are once again reminded of the reality of protecting our children each day by on-site armed law enforcement officers following the heart wrenching tragedy in Uvalde, Texas, this week. There are 19 parents of deceased children who are now picking out coffins for the imminent funeral services. Even though the distance is substantial, the Town of Leesburg is not immune to violent crime, as evidenced by two homicides in the month of April alone, by two young men who were arrested and charged for the deaths. It is my firm belief that due to the diligent and conscientious Leesburg Police force, not forgetting most notably the School Resource Officers dedicated to serve within our schools, who exemplify how blessed we are that our children continue to remain safe in the classroom and elsewhere.
In the weeks and months ahead, I ask for full support and appropriate action by the Mayor and Town Council members to reconsider the importance of reinstating, if possible and available, the highly trained, educated and experienced Leesburg Police officers who were terminated for insufficient reason in these increasing dangerous times. May the additional staffing now and for future school terms result in more on-site School Resource Officers as well as officers on patrol to prevent and/or respond to meet the critical safety needs of teachers and children within our schools and community each day.
Rebecca Reeder, Leesburg