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Tags: Law Enforcement | minneapolis | seattle | chaz | chop

Don't Throw in The Towel on Police Reform

do not throw in the towel on law enforcement reform

(Eduard Kryzhanivskyi/Dreamstime)

By Friday, 26 June 2020 04:32 PM Current | Bio | Archive

There’s an old saying "Be careful what you wish for, it might just come true," which may have originated with one of Aesop's Fables. It fits the current rush to judgement against police forces across the United States.

Reforming the police has been replaced by "defund the police" or even "abolish the police" among the most radical political elements. In Seattle that’s led to the outrageous abdication of responsibility by elected state and local officials.

They have cowered before a mob which took over a whole city neighborhood.

The occupiers of the Seattle CHAZ (The Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone), later CHOP (Capitol Hill Occupied Protest) stormed a local police headquarters and forcibly expelled the officers stationed there. They set up barricades and have established their own tumultuous version of an open society.

No police officers, no discernible rules of behavior.

The result? A spiraling decline into lawlessness and disorder.

Armed thugs roam the zone, dispensing their own version of justice. Fueled by drugs and alcohol, this has inevitably led to late night shooting and killing. But still Seattle’s Mayor and Washington State’s governor have sat on their hands, making apologies for the mob.

No one should make excuses for bad officers or accept criminal behavior from those sworn to protect us. Police forces do need to reform; to be much better trained; to opt for de-escalation rather than confrontation. Bad cops should be weeded out and expelled from their forces. Police must win the trust of communities they serve, not see themselves as occupying forces, especially in communities of color.

But just imagine what will happen if police withdraw from patrolling high crime neighborhoods. Think crime will magically go down? Think the killing will stop?

Think again, because the summer killing season has already entered full swing in a number of America’s cities.

In Minneapolis where the tragic death of George Floyd sparked a national awakening to the need to stop inexcusable police violence, recent murders of young black men have brought the tragedy full circle.

But those murders were not committed by the police. They were committed by criminals.

In Chicago the recent death toll has been staggering. More than 250 people have been murdered so far this year.

At the current death rate, Chicago could exceed last year’s 510 murders.

Recently the New York City police department unilaterally declared a withdrawal from undercover policing aimed at the most violent drug gangs. The law-abiding citizens where these thugs roam can only hidebut they can’t run — from their neighborhoods.

Unlike New York’s wealthy, who can and will abandon the City for safer environs if crime returns to the bad old days, those who live in its poorest neighborhoods will be trapped amidst the violence and death.

They’ll absorb the brunt of the drive-by shootings, the stray bullets, the revenge killings.

We may forget that at the height of the last crime wave New York was terrorized by a high of over 2,600 murders in a single year. Last year there were just over 300 murders.

That’s 2,300 fewer dead; fewer funerals; fewer grieving parents, widows, and orphans.

Good policing had a lot to do with this dramatic drop in deaths.

Constructive police engagement with communities plagued by high crime helped reduce the death toll. That’s why it’s all the more damnable that a few terrible cops have defamed the reputation of their policing brothers and sisters, damaging relationships between law enforcment and minority communities.

This damage must be repaired. Our police forces must not retreat from our most vulnerable communities. They must not lose heart or commitment to the tough work they signed up for. We need to give more, not less, support for better law enforcement, especially to encourage positive community engagement.

If that means creating specialized teams of social workers, medics, mental health professionals, and others to help police respond to the calls they get, so be it.

So many 911 calls today are domestic violence calls, child abuse calls, drug and alcohol abuse calls. They require more than law enforcement intervention.

They require all the skills the public sector and the community can muster.

I certainly get it that policing needs to change and grow to serve our modern and all too often dysfunctional society. We should look at policing with eyes wide open.

Let’s figure out what works and follow it. Let’s make public safety a number one priority.

Let’s not throw in the towel on better policing, safer communities, fewer deaths, especially in our minority communities that suffer the worst from criminal violence.

Because black lives matter. Every, single, one.

Former Senator Alfonse D’Amato served a distinguished 18-year career in the U.S. Senate, where he chaired the Senate Banking Committee and was a member of the Senate Appropriations and Finance Committees. While in the Senate, Mr. D’Amato also Chaired of the U.S. Commission on Cooperation and Security in Europe (CSCE), and served on the Senate Intelligence Committee. The former Senator is considered an expert in the legislative and political process, who maintains close relationships with Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. He is regularly called upon for his advice and counsel, and is recognized for his incisive analysis of national and international political affairs. The former Senator will share insights gained from his years in Washington “with a clear-eyed view of the political forces that shape the world we live in today.” Read Alfonse D'Amato's Reports — More Here.

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I certainly get it that policing needs to change and grow to serve our modern and all too often dysfunctional society. We should look at policing with eyes wide open. Let’s figure out what works and follow it.
minneapolis, seattle, chaz, chop
Friday, 26 June 2020 04:32 PM
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