The Frankton Police Department, in a bid to make their patrol vehicles unifying and modern, chose to add a message on them. However, they ended up creating a controversy, and they were barraged with complaints instead.
The department chose decals that read “All Lives Matter” to promote a message of equality across all races, backgrounds, and religions. However, this was not the message some community members picked from the decals.
One resident, Molly Hobbs, started a petition calling for the removal of the decals from the patrol vehicles.
She stated; “As I educated myself on the black lives matter movement more and kind of spoke with other people about it, I kind of realized that that’s not OK and it needs to come off. I think it’s a controversial issue and I don’t think it’s one the police should have taken a stand on. I created the petition to kind of show people that it’s not just me. That it is a problem.”
As Hobbs’ petition gained momentum, the spotlight was cast upon James Burgess, the Madison County NAACP President. However, Burgess did not take a side on the issue.
“I could never say something’s wrong with that. I could say ‘hmm, what’s the intent of that?’ because ‘Black Lives Matter’ is the issue that is being left out,” Burgess stated.
Another NAACP board member, Tyjuan Garret, echoed Burgess’ statement, adding; “I mean I would love to sit down with the Frankton Police Department and have a conversation with them and say exactly what are your motives? Tell me how you are adding to the conversation of All Lives Matter. How are you expanding out to reflect all lives matter?”
Despite the open-minded stance undertaken by NAACP members, Hobbs maintained that the statement “All Lives Matter” was exclusionary. She said, “I want the community to always be inclusive and accepting of anybody, and I think that doing this will help the community grow.”
Dave Huffman, the Frankton Town Marshal, maintained that the decals were not meant as a criticism of “Black Lives Matter,” and that the decals were politically misinterpreted. He stated that the message was geared towards the protection of the citizens “regardless of income, economic status, race, nationality, age, or any other factor.”
However, Huffman explained that after nearly 100 people signed Hobbs’ petition, the city had to address the issue. It was finally decided that the decals would be removed, and most likely replaced with others.