What did Boykins expect?

Published 10:31 pm Thursday, September 11, 2008

The good folks of Boykins, as a sovereign community, can hire whomever they please to enforce the laws of their Southampton County hamlet.

But the indignation from Town Hall and other corners because some would dare to criticize the hiring of a disgraced former state trooper — and because the media would report about it — is a little too much for us to stomach.

To recap, the Town Council last week, without interviewing a single other candidate, chose Hank Fuller as town sergeant. Fuller was hired as Boykins’ top cop a few months after pleading guilty to having a sexual relationship with a teenage girl and resigning his job as a state trooper.

Not surprisingly, the Town Council’s decision raised some eyebrows and drew the attention of regional print and broadcast media.

Town officials pitched a fit about the news coverage. One Boykins merchant demanded that a Tidewater News rack be removed from the sidewalk in front of his store, presumably because we did our job and reported the news.

Yes, the Fuller hiring is news, no matter how you slice it.

If it was news when Boykins won a national award for its water quality, when the mayor led a crusade against rural blight, when merchants banded together to revitalize Main Street, when someone moved to town, bought an old building and began converting it to an ice cream and coffee shop — all of which were reported prominently in this newspaper — it’s news when the town hires a convicted criminal to patrol its streets.

The Town Council has made its decision and now must live with the consequences, including the interest of reporters and criticism from those — both inside and outside of Boykins — who think the town could have done better.