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Welcome, Sarasota’s New Police Chief

Sarasota has a new Chief of Police and I couldn’t be happier. I’m so glad the powers that be came to their senses and hired Mikel Hollaway, who has been serving as Interim Chief since May.

Mikel Hollaway (photo courtesy of City of Sarasota website)

Mikel Hollaway (photo courtesy of City of Sarasota website)

I really like that Sarasota hired from within instead of spending massive amounts of time and money going after candidates from out of town.

And, I think it’s great that our police will have an African-American Chief of Police for the first time ever. I think it will be good for our community, good for the many residents who feel under-represented in our City Government, and hopefully good for the strained relationships that exists between Sarasota-area minorities and the police in general.

Posted on September 10th, 2010Comments RSS Feed
9 Responses to Welcome, Sarasota’s New Police Chief
  1. “And, I think it’s great that our police will have an African-American Chief of Police for the first time ever.”

    Race should never be a consideration in the decision of placement, or even commented on, in regard to public service positions under any circumstance..

  2. I thought about that John, as I made the post because I usually think it’s a non-issue too and doesn’t advance a story. But in this case, where we’ve spent the past year in Sarasota battling very strong charges of racism and under-representation for minorities, and poor relationships between police and the communities, it did seem relevant and significant. Thanks for sharing your opinion!

  3. Just like when Obama was running right John?……………..You both make valid points and I understand both positions.

  4. Mary, while I understand the point you were trying to convey, regarding the racial tension in Sarasota this past year and how you feel the appointing of an African American would be “good for the community”, I also see Johns point: “Race should never be a consideration in the decision of placement, or even commented on, in regard to public service positions under any circumstance..” and Mary, I believe he’s right.

    The only way to ease racial tensions, and which would help to bridge the racial barriers, would be not to stereotype…

    Mary, please don’t take this the wrong way at all, and you be quite honest, I didn’t understand this until years ago in Detroit. I used to have a few fruit & vegetable stands at the Eastern Farmers Market on weekends. One day, I had given out too much change when someone purchased some items from me. I coudln’t believe it, for someone to have been that honest. Well, I pointed out this act of kindness to a couple of my regular customers. What I did wrong, was to point out that the individual who was honest to me by returning the extra money I had over-paid in change as being an African American. My regular customers asked me, why I included what race this person was when I told them my story and what race had anything to do with it at all. Point taken! Mary, this person was exactly right and hit the nail on the head. I guess I was trying to say; “even blacks are honest”.. which was totaly out of line on my part.

    That day Mary, I was taught a very valuable lesson; one that will stay with me the rest of my life. This is why I totaly agree with John’s post.

    I also feel the media – (news), should not label a suspect as being white, black, hispanic…ect…then, and until then, will we begin to heal racial tensions.

    Thank you for your time. And Mary, this is just my feelings, from an experience that I’ve had and in no way whatsoever, was this meant to critisize your post in any way.


  5. Dan — criticism is welcome here at MC’s Reality Online! That’s what I want — a place where people can dialogue and provoke new thinking.

    I definitely understand your point, as well as John’s. I think the comparison is off a little, though. Because I don’t think race has much to do with getting change back, but I do think race has something to do with Sarasota’s community and so I think it’s important to note that in this town where, in my experience, racism toward minorities is pretty blatant and fairly frequent, we now have a Chief of Fire Department and a Chief of Police who are African-American. So, I do think that in this context, discussing race or gender or even sexual preference can be important and necessary. For example, if we had recently elected a mayor of Sarasota who was gay and “out” — I think that would be significant too — particularly if that Mayor supported gay marriage, because still, unbelievably, I hear folks locally vehemently opposed to the rights of same-sex couples to marry. I wrote a few weeks ago about a black man who approached me in my yard and was yelling and gesticulating wildly and that I was scared. I wondered in that post if race was relevant. I’d be interested to know your and John’s thoughts on that post — I don’t recall any suggestion that that mention of race was unnecessary — perhaps you both just missed that blog, but if not, I’d be interested in knowing why that didn’t elicit similar comments? Is it because in the same blog, I mentioned my mother feeling threatened by a white man at her home? Race is a prickly issue for sure and I appreciate the questions both you and John have raised.

  6. Dancing backwards in high heels
    September 13, 2010 at 9:25 am

    If Mr. Mikel Hollaway were white, would you have pointed that out? What if he were Chinese, Latino, etc…? As long as he’s the most qualified person for the position it should not matter at all. MC, I think you make race an issue way too much.

  7. Thanks Dancing Backwards — I appreciate you reading the blog and for commenting. It’s unlikely, but not completely so, that I would have mentioned race if the new chief was white. Even then, in this situation in Sarasota with the police investigation after the racial tensions that arose anew (at least to the public eye) after the 2009 summer incident with a policeman seemingly kicking a minority and then the police force effectively trying to cover it all up by paying him off — and the resulting many blacks who came forward at the panel meetings convened for public discourse who said racism is rampant in the Sarasota Police Dept., yes, I guess, I do feel race is an issue when the new chief is selected. I, like every other media outlet in town, commented on his race — for just such reasons.
    However, I have to say, my readers are making me think a lot about this issue — the idea of commenting on race. I do still feel that it’s necessary and appropriate in some situations and not in others.

  8. Institutionalized racism and sexism preventing upward mobility in both the public and private sectors has been prevalent for way too long in America.I think it is totally appropriate to mention race when the very first African-American(and long time Sarasotan)becomes chief of police.

  9. Thanks, Robert — for reading the blog and sharing your thoughts!


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