Editorial: Better days are dependent on support

Dec. 21, 2013 @ 11:45 PM

Only the choice of the city manager mattered.

But Marcus Barrow, named police chief of Henderson on Thursday, has the support of many. It extends from his colleagues to City Hall to public input meetings on characteristics desired in a chief to any number of other places called Henderson.

He’s not perfect, and he’ll be the first to say it. He’s not going to immediately wipe out all crime in Henderson. He’s not going to at any point fully rid our beloved city of gangs, illegal guns, petty criminals or anything else in between that will draw a pair of handcuffs.

But we believe he’ll do his darnedest. Of that, we have no doubt.

Realistic expectations should be embraced about now. When a small faction of Henderson climbed into the same wagon and began to disparage former chief Keith Sidwell, the venom and the loud cries were easily heard.

Truth took a backseat. Perceptions changed among the less informed, buoyed by the generalities and less favorable opinions spoken by trusted leadership.

Ray Griffin, the city manager, never wavered in support of Sidwell. Neither did the finest wearing a badge.

Barrow saw and experienced the lesson while a captain. Now he’s the chief. And his moves will be highly scrutinized, debated and roundly judged by some who are informed, and others who are not.

The expectations presented in the public input segment of the search were astonishing. They were all good qualities, but the combination of any man or woman living up to them all would raise possibility our chief could walk across Kerr Lake.

Fortunately, citizen expectations will not measure up to what Barrow will seek of himself and his department. He’ll want better. He’ll be reasonable with those that serve and protect, and our city will find him exemplary. He’ll learn from his mistakes. He’ll listen to his community. As Sidwell noted is Barrow’s track record, he’ll leave it better than he found it.

Barrow is 37. There is a good while before retirement. We can choose the right wagon in this fresh start, and Henderson can be a better place for many years to come.