This is a letter to the editor regarding the ongoing search for a permanent police chief in Ithaca by former resident Brittany Morse. It was not written by The Ithaca Voice. To submit letters to the editor, send them to Matt Butler at mbutler@ithacavoice.com.

I lived in the Ithaca community for 21 years and being raised there is what helped shape me into the person I am today. Looking back on my childhood and young adulthood, I realized what I appreciated most about Ithaca is the people, the culture and diversity. It’s always been a melting pot, where people come together from all walks of life. The city is so gorges (as we all know). But what made it most beautiful to me is the wonderful people who make up the community.

Unfortunately, over the years Ithaca has lacked serious leadership. From the Mayor down to the Chief of Police at IPD. “Great leaders don’t set out to be a leader…they set out to make a difference. It’s never about the role-always about the goal.” It saddens me, because instead of working for the people and with the people, the leaders who are elected are working for themselves, solely focused on their role and title while continuously being on their own agenda. IPD has always been the biggest Achilles heel in the community. And yet here we are once again, in desperation for quality leadership, and someone who will be able to appropriately lead, role model and demonstrate what great looks like. Forever it’s been the “good old boys club.”

Why are we overlooking community member and former Lieutenant Scott Garin? Scott has been a member of the Ithaca community for 25 years, he’s worked and served the people, he’s been an active representative at GIAC (currently serving on the board) he’s shown up to numerous local community events, and most of all, he’s raised his 3 children there. He worked his way up the IPD ladder after being overlooked year after year. Every time I saw Scott out in public, he has always been friendly, outgoing, and willing to listen. More importantly, he doesn’t shy away from putting his badge to the side and rolling up his sleeves to have difficult conversations.

So, my question to the mayor, and the rest of the community is, what is the true reason behind not selecting Scott Garin as the next Police Chief at IPD? What sense does it make to hire someone from Binghamton? Or someone from outside the city or state? The city has someone perfectly capable of leading with positivity, passion, dignity, and ethics. Many former police chiefs couldn’t agree to disagree, wouldn’t extend themselves as an olive branch to the community, and were never the “face of the community.” Scott’s focus has always been building a strong rapport with people, not using his badge as intimidation or for authoritarian purposes. “Real leadership is leaders recognizing that they serve the people that they lead.”

Let’s select Scott Garin, a perfectly capable police chief who recognizes that he serves the people of Ithaca.

Brittany Morse