I write this article not only as a current council member for Ward 2 but as a concerned citizen. I know this article will be shared all over social media & talked about, & that’s good, it will get the word out to the community to let them all know that The City of Simpsonville has lost a superior level leader in our former Police Chief Keith P. Grounsell.
It is a shame that political revenge played a big role in getting Grounsell removed so that the perceived Mayberry (Simpsonville) could continue to try & keep us in a bubble to make every one think that violent crime among other crimes do not exist here. Wrong folks, wake up Simpsonville it is here. It just stays at times well hidden, which means the SPD has to be more proactive than reactive to keep this from getting out of hand. Some current leadership has put us at risk, not saying our PD is not doing their job because they are, & they want to continue to be proactive. The men & women of the SPD want to go above & beyond everyday they put the uniform on. SPD will do just that, however had Grounsell not been reinstated in 2014, the following items would not have been put into place to benefit our community.
1- Citizens Police Academy
2- Police & Middle School Explorer Club
3- Seasonal Police Bike Patrol
4- Citizen Assistance program
5-School Bus Stop Arm program
6- Top Cop Program
7- K-9 Program
9- CDV Monthly Victims meetings
10- Police Sub station
11- Police Internship
12- Anti Theft Program
13- Upstate Warrior Solution Referral Program
14- Neighborhood Traffic Calming program
15- Box Tops & Badges
16- SPD interactive website & SPD Facebook
17- Re-brand of Department Logo’s with SPD staff assistance
18- National child safety council/safety pup program
19- Dog Find Sign program
20- Employee action committee
21- SPD ride along program
22-vacation watch program
23- Street survival tactics series
24- Reserve officer program
25- Police Chaplain program
26- Special needs assistance
27- Stay safe while stopped initiative
28- CAN, Changing attitudes now program
29- Domestic violence court with State
30- Saint Baldrics
31- Youth SPD summer camp.
On the day before Chief Grounsell resigned, I was told by Mayor Janice Curtis that “she” had received several calls by council members that they had lost faith in Grounsell to do his job, now with the above listed & the prostitution bust, how can that be lost ? She also stated “she” had the votes for this to happen & that by the end of the meeting Grounsell would either accept a severance package or be terminated. Now how can such a thing be if council members had not been polled to agree, I certainly was not contacted nor asked. Only after the agenda & meeting announcement was made did I call to find out what was going on. How can an employee be set to be terminated without a recommendation from our Administrator, if council was not in fact, “Polled”, which is illegal. How is a severance agreed upon when council has not met to discuss such an item unless some were “Polled” for an answer. Again, this is nothing more than political payback.
Yes I supported Chief Grounsell & I still do. As a council member I do not want a “Yes Person” heading up a city department. I want someone that will stand toe to toe with me & fight every step of the way for their department & the citizens. I stood by Grounsell all the way from his reinstatement to the HR & City Administrator office where he turned in his resignation. If I had an ounce of doubt in his abilities to do his job or failing the PD or citizens, I would not stood by his side from start to finish.
In closing I want to share a quick statement about some of the current city leadership. A former SPD officer left because he feared for his job not only in maintaining it but his life in it. While on an incident he was threatened by several suspects that stated to him,” Simpsonville Government doesn’t know what they are doing, what makes us know that you know what you are doing”. It was at that point because of the political turmoil, that officer knew his life as well as others was in grave jeopardy because of the constant attacks on Chief Grounsell. I hope that all of you that got what you wanted can’t sleep well at night knowing you put a community of 23,000 plus at an elevated risk.
I ask you all to step up, sign up, speak out ! This is your community, a democracy, Council Administrator form of government, not a dictatorship run by a Mayor !!!!!
Taylor A Graham,
Ward 2 Councilman