Monday, January 13, 2014

A Closer Look at Melissa Beasley

Editor's Note: This article isn't about who's right or wrong in a current dispute involving personalities, game plans, and power. It takes two to make a fight, but that doesn't mean anyone should be anyone's doormat either. We don't have all the facts in this dispute, but we do have some facts about one of the participants, Melissa Beasley.

Melissa Beasley is a member of the Florence Police Department. As such, the citizens of Florence pay her salary. Those who shop and pay sales tax in Florence also pay her salary. She is a public figure. (We'll note that the other person involved in this dispute is also a public figure by virtue of her efforts to bring animal rescue to the public's attention and by agreeing to be interviewed by the local press.)

What do we know about Melissa Beasley? Does she have any advanced degrees? We hope so since at one time she was the mental health officer for Florence. How did that work out?

Not well. We realize one person can't work as a mental health officer 24/7, so any clear-thinking person wouldn't take such a job without assurances that the role would be filled by someone else when he/she was not on duty. That didn't happen when the son of a local physician was having an episode one Saturday. The mental health officer was called, but no one came. The young man was shot dead by another Florence Police officer, ostensibly in self-defense.

Let's move on to a more recent shooting. On the night Jerry Ivy was killed in East Florence, Melissa Beasley entered the investigation as a captain. When the smoke cleared some days later, she was a sergeant. Those who know protocol were surprised that she still had her job. Perhaps Florence didn't want any more sexual discrimination lawsuits?

At that time, the Shoalanda Group was forwarded several e-mails which detailed the events of that night. They were all written by a former officer who had no reason to like the FPD. We encouraged the writer to discuss this with us, but we never received a response. Were the allegations true? It's quite possible, but we do believe in most instances an individual deserves a second chance.

Now Melissa's name has popped up again in a controversy that we should all care about. We invite comments.


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