The COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) Thursday night at Redeemer Church was a time of remembering and renaissance. The genesis of the meeting brought the moderator Buddy Graham to tears by remembering renowned local architect Michael Barranco. Barranco was tragically killed in a vehicle accident this week. “Michael was one of the finest people you could ever meet. His heart was in the right place and everything about him was right.” Later in the meeting the newest City Council member, Quinton Whitwell spoke of Barranco as “one of the few people who saw the big picture of what we are trying to do here.”

Commander Wendell Watts began his portion of the meeting by announcing a 15% reduction in crime and announcing that there are Precinct 4 is in single digits in total crime. He then began a “finger pointing” dialogue at the audience, albeit in a good way, a motivational insistence if you will. “I’ve read a whole bunch of emails lately, mostly about burglaries. Now, I’m not much of an office guy, so if you email me it may be a couple of hours before you hear from me,” he insisted, almost blue in the face from repeating this at every meeting.

He spoke mainly about the renaissance the city is witnessing and called on the citizens to become more educated and proactive in what “this administration is trying to do.” Much deserved, he admonished the audience for not calling him on his mobile phone and rather emailing each other about problems. “You have to give me a chance here to get positive things accomplished. By not calling me, I don’t know what is going on. I take everything seriously from a cat in a tree or a homicide,” he continued. “I want to make this a better place not only for the citizens but for the visitors who come to the city.”

Not totally blaming the citizens for not being involved, he took time to shame the media for their not-so-positive coverage of the great things in the city (we’re sure it wasn’t us he was talking about). “Most people want to be naysayers, and we need more people to see and talk about the positives,” he said emphatically. He continued the meeting with Q  & A and smiled while more than a few people complimented him and the entire staff for the work they are doing and making the Jackson renaissance a reality.

Regular contributor Langston Moore is to thank for this photo and story. Thanks, Langston!