Haven votes to remove ‘In God We Trust’ from police vehicles
HAVEN, Kan. (KWCH) - In a meeting Monday night, the Haven City Council voted to remove “In God We Trust” decals from police vehicles.
Councilmember Sandra Williams voiced concerns to Police Chief Stephen Schaffer regarding the decals and the quoting of scripture on the Haven Police Department Facebook page. She said the council did not believe Facebook was the correct forum to be discussing God.
After a brief exchange, Schaffer asked if those were directives from the council, and Mayor Adam Wright said it was.
Williams moved to eliminate the quoting of scripture on Facebook, as well as the decals. Councilwoman Kylie Rush seconded, and the motion passed unanimously.
A few months ago, Haven Police Department decided to put the “In God We Trust” decals on their police vehicles. The removal comes with a city council decision to separate church and state.
“An officer came to me and say, ‘hey, you know, I think it’d be a good idea,’” Chief Schaffer said of adding the decals. “So, I was like, ‘why not?’ We did it. It’s on our money. It’s our national motto. So I didn’t figure it would be a problem.”
Haven City Attorney Jennifer Hill said the council came to the decision to remove the decals after consideration and discussion with city employees and even with some community members in attendance at Monday night’s meeting. The vote was unanimous.
“I was a little defensive, but in the end, we’re going to do whatever the council tells us to do,” Chief Schaffer said. “It’s not an issue for me.”
Eyewitness News spoke with several community members who disagree with the decision to remove the decals.
“I don’t think it hurts anything. I think the community feels that way. We have five churches in our community. I think they should have probably slowed down and done a little more research about what the people actually wanted and not what they felt was right,” Haven resident Ryan Warden said.
Chief Schaffer said many have reached out to him, supporting the “In God We Trust” message displayed on police vehicles. That support hasn’t been limited to Haven.
“We’ve had a large outcry of support for keeping the on since news broke that it was a discussion in the council meeting, (including from) people across Reno County,” he said.
Warden said he believes the city council s not representing the community, and not just on the issue surrounding the decals.
Eyewitness News reached out to multiple city council members who declined to comment.
The next Haven City Council meeting is set for May 16.
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