In December 2019, Huntertown Town Council member Brandon Seifert introduced a resolution affirming the council’s pro-life stance, which passed unanimously. So did a similar ordinance Seifert introduced July 20, in response to recent police brutality protests across the country, affirming Huntertown’s support for law enforcement officers.
Following several weeks of protests in Fort Wayne in response to the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, Huntertown is the first Allen County community to pass such a resolution, which states the Town Council “believes law and order are important virtues to maintain a peaceful and safe community.”
“Huntertown Town Council members are grateful for the Allen County Sheriff’s Dept. Officers, including our own town Resource Police Officers, who protect the community and put their lives on the line for not only our community but for all of Allen County,” the resolution reads. “We as a community know that the Sheriff’s Dept. is grounded by the rule of law and we believe the vast majority of law enforcement officers are conscientious, civic-minded professionals, that strive for excellence in their service to the community.”
Seifert said he was prompted to introduce the resolution because of the negative views of law enforcement officers in Fort Wayne and Allen County he’s seen on social media. Downtown Fort Wayne protests during the last weekend in May resulted in officers administering tear gas and arresting several individuals after the demonstrations were deemed unlawful assemblies. Some Fort Wayne residents continue to express their disapproval of the law enforcement agencies’ handling of the protests through letters submitted to Fort Wayne City Council.
“My concern from the research that I’ve done and reading about the (protest) group here in Fort Wayne, and the different agitators, is that it’s going to swell out into the county — out to, possibly, New Haven, possibly Woodburn, Leo-Cedarville, Huntertown, the surrounding areas,” Seifert said. “I’m not saying it is, but I don’t want to see it happen. … I feel that if a community takes a stand now, it shows that the community supports law enforcement.”
Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards and her staff are still poring over thousands of hours of video footage related to Black Lives Matter protests in Fort Wayne. Findings from that evidence have led to additional arrests following the demonstrations, and Seifert said he has shown support for the criminal division’s efforts by delivering breakfast to the prosecutor’s office.
Just this year, Huntertown approved the addition of another resource officer. The town now has contracts with two Allen County Sheriff’s Department officers. Seifert said he hopes the newly passed law enforcement resolution will show community support for those two individuals, as well as the Fort Wayne Police Department and Allen County Sheriff’s Department.
“Especially in a small community, you don’t want the morale of the officers — whether they’re resource officers or your own police department — you don’t want the morale to be low,” Seifert said. “And that’s something that I wanted to get out in the forefront, especially locally, to let them know ‘Keep your heads up high’ and ‘You’ve got the community behind you.’”
Two members of the Huntertown Town Council are first responders. Council member Gary Grant is a deputy chief with the Allen County Sheriff’s Department, and Council President Mike Aker is a Fort Wayne firefighter. Grant was not present during the council’s July 20 meeting.
“I think it was a good idea and I’m glad you facilitated it, Brandon,” Aker told Seifert during that meeting.
The newly passed Huntertown resolution will also allow the town to display blue ribbons in support of law enforcement. Seifert said he drafted the resolution after researching similar statements adopted by other communities throughout the country.“It’s a passion of mine because I come from family who are in law enforcement, and I have friends who are in law enforcement, and I feel that we need to do what we can to show our support for them during this time,” he said.