Below is a letter that myself and two other councilors sent to the mayor, sheriff, and superintendent, regarding the prison guard training that has been taking place on the high school grounds over the past few weeks.
Mayor Wedegartner, Superintendent Harper, and Sheriff Donelan:
This past week, we’ve all received several complaints from residents about prison guard training on the grounds of Greenfield High School. Reports indicate that said trainings involved loud instances of sexist and homophobic language as well as gestures that reminded some of Nazi salutes. The high school is an inappropriate place for such trainings, and we are writing to insist that they stop immediately and that no city-owned property–indoor or outdoor–be used for this purpose in the future.
The authors of this letter object to militaristic training for prison guards in general. As you are likely aware, 90% of the population of the Franklin County Jail suffer from dual diagnoses of mental illness and substance use disorders. Far from being hardened criminals, those incarcerated people are our most vulnerable neighbors, and deserve an environment that is conducive to recovery.
We hope that both the city and the sheriff’s office take this moment in history to reflect on our values and priorities, and make substantive changes to law enforcement practices.
Otis Wheeler, City Council Vice President, Precinct 7
John Bottomley, City Council, Precinct 4
Timothy Dolan, City Council, Precinct 5