Mel Hayes: A letter to Mayor Poe

Dear Mr. Poe,

As a citizen of this great City of Gainesville, I am unable to recognize you as the Mayor.

Observing these meetings, I see the total disrespect that you give to citizens and even high-ranking officials. When you don’t respect the badge and have the audacity to belittle our Sheriff and to tell her even though she wears a badge she doesn’t get any special privileges, you continue to show your arrogance and narcissistic attitude towards our law enforcement community; not only does that put them at risk, but it also puts citizens of this city at high risk.

But you are WRONG. Sheriff Darnell should not only get special privileges when it comes to running her department; she has earned them. She has more respect, honor, and integrity of what her badge means than you ever could, Mr. Poe.

You have torn down our law enforcement department over the years; you have let officers with years and years of experience leave the department for other agencies–or they left for the private sector because of the contract controversy that lasted 3 long years. GPD is still in a tailspin, trying to regain control and hire new officers; it will take many more years to hire and train and get that department up to what it once was–and this was due to your leadership of this city.

AND now you want to dismantle the aviation unit. Big mistake. That unit is essential to the safety of citizens and to the ground law enforcement officers when apprehending violent criminals, or looking for a lost elderly person or a child, or even just basic patrol to help prevent criminal activity.

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GPD did not ask to dismantle the Joint Aviation Unit; you and City Manager Mr. Feldman were the ones claiming that Gainesville doesn’t need the unit. I am not sure why the false narrative was reported that way. No one that I have spoken to at GPD wants the Aviation unit to go away.

It is also my understanding that Mr. Feldman wants to utilize the insurance money from the damaged helicopter in other areas; that doesn’t sound quite transparent to me.

As you sit on your throne with your egotistic attitude and pound the trusty gavel, I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but violent criminal activity is on the rise in this town. Just the other night, downtown experienced another shooting–one of many, and this one left a young woman dead.

I am not sure what is going through our leaders’ minds in Gainesville when thinking of taking away essential programs, but I have a few personal thoughts on that: These leaders in Gainesville have one agenda (their own), and it is not the best interest of this community.

So with that being said, I have CC’d this email to Sheriff Darnell, Governor Ron DeSantis, Senator Rick Scott, State Senator Keith Perry, and our Attorney General, The Honorable Ashley Moody, with hopes that someone will take the time to read this email and start looking into the doings of these leaders in Gainesville.

Melvin Hayes