Danville police chief's challenger says department in dire shape
The fight for the chief's position comes after a year of personal tragedy for Parsons and criticism in the wake of a teen suicide a year ago inside his Danville residence.
Parsons was charged with a violation-level offense for allegedly failing to properly secure the firearm on the night of the shooting last March. His defense has argued that he shouldn't be held responsible, and he's now awaiting a ruling by a Salem Circuit Court judge on whether the charge should be dropped.
But Parsons wasn't able to avoid questions about the suicide raised by Jacob's 19-year-old sister, Sophia, who said his failure to follow gun safety rules "cost my little brother his life."
He also said that he plans to offer a program that touches on firearm safety in the school.
Parsons spoke about the accomplishments during his 30 years on the department — the last 19 as chief — and the awards he's received for exemplary service to victims of crime and his contributions to the field of drug enforcement.
Furman commended Parsons for his community service work but said the focus needs to be on the police department.
"I'm not trying to destroy this guy. I'm not trying to harm his reputation, but I'm telling you this department is in dire need. This department is in dire shape over there," said Furman, who was hired as an officer in 2000 and was promoted to sergeant in 2006.
"I can't sit around and allow this to continue to occur," he said.
Parsons said many of the standard operating procedures have been rewritten over the past and that "we've still got a ways to go."
In response to some of the criticisms, Parsons said it was "painful to listen to some of these things, but being the boss, is that so unusual? I don't think so, but I see things in a different light I guess."