Law Enforcement on Notice
Note to Sheriffs and Police Chiefs: If you aren’t actively seeking ideas to foster better relations between your community and your officers you probably should resign.
If you are still operating under the illusion that social unrest could never come to your town you better think again.
If you don’t realize that a new day has dawned in law enforcement – a day where a growing number of citizens automatically mistrust cops – you might want to get back out on the street and walk a beat for a day or two.
There is now a nationwide, colorblind call demanding a change in the way law enforcement interacts with the people they have sworn to protect. [click to continue…]
Founding Father, Franklin
Following my recent column about racial tensions in America I got an e-mail from Gary L. Hoe, of Albuquerque, which made me re-think what our founding fathers had in mind when they established this country.
Hoe reminded me of a quote from Benjamin Franklin, attributed to the statesman as he left the secret confab which hammered out the U.S. Constitution. Asked by a woman what kind of government had been decided upon – a republic or a monarchy – Franklin replied, “A republic, Madam, if you can keep it.”
Somewhere in the 227 years since then many Americans have adopted the idea that we are a democracy not a republic. Nothing could be further from the intent expressed at that Constitutional Convention in 1787. [click to continue…]
Why Are Black Arrest Rates in Some Places So High?
As the nation continued to watch for the grand jury announcement out of Ferguson, Missouri this week, USA Today released a disturbing analysis of arrest records from across the country.
After pouring over FBI records from more than 3,500 police departments the newspaper finds that blacks are far more likely to be arrested than people of other races – and for all sorts of crimes – from murder to marijuana possession.
USA Today called the racial divide in America’s 2011-2012 arrest rates a, “staggering disparity” with at least 70 police departments from Connecticut to California arresting blacks at a rate 10 times higher than people of other races.
But before you jump to any conclusions, the paper also quoted experts who said the lopsided nature of arrests didn’t necessary prove racism or racial profiling.
Read that sentence again, please. [click to continue…]
Terminally Ill and Planning His Own Death
While many are debating whether more states should pass “Right to Die” laws Robert Mitton is methodically planning his own death. Death on his terms, as he slips through the cracks of the current conversation about who qualifies for help in ending a life of unbearable pain.
Mitton, 59, has suffered from acute heart disease most of his life, the result of a near fatal childhood bout with rheumatic fever. Fifteen years ago, on November 17, 1999, Robert finally agreed to allow surgeons to swap out his damaged aortic heart valve with a bovine replacement. He was told the cow valve had a shelf life of ten to 15 years. Next week marks the expiration date for the lifesaving foreign body that lives in his chest. [click to continue…]
Sgt. Edward J. Burns as a Young NYPD Officer
Generally speaking law enforcement types are a quietly proud bunch. They are proud to put on the uniform every day, proud to catch the bad guys and proud to dedicate their lives to keeping the public safe.
There might be no prouder cop these days than Sgt. Edward J. Burns, the retired New York Police Department’s media liaison. Besides dedicating 27 years of his life to public service — much of it as the TV face representing the NYPD — Burns has much to brag about. A lovely wife named Molly and three beautiful children. His daughter, Mary, was celebrating her 28th wedding anniversary the day Burns and I last spoke. And, oh yeah, his two sons are famous.
The sons didn’t go into law enforcement but each has dedicated parts of their careers to cops in another way, telling captivating stories about the job to which their old man dedicated his life. [click to continue…]
Microscopic Swirls of Death
We have got to get smarter about controlling the ever-widening Ebola epidemic – and quickly. Ebola is not just a problem for the West African hotspots of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. And, the Department of Homeland Security’s new system of simply questioning and taking the temperature of incoming air travelers from West Africa isn’t enough to control this potential pandemic.
This is a modern day Pandora’s Box with deadly, worldwide consequences and our Government’s response, via the Centers of Disease Control? The CDC now admits it dropped the ball from the get-go.
At this writing there are two known cases of American nurses contracting Ebola from a Liberian patient who traveled to the U.S. in late September and died in a Dallas hospital October 8th. [click to continue…]
AG Holder Resigns, Suspicious Timing?
When someone decides to retire they tell the boss and within a few weeks there’s a party, maybe a gold watch, and they’re gone.
Not so if you are Attorney General Eric Holder.
Holder recently announced his retirement as the nation’s top cop but promised to stay on until a replacement is confirmed by Congress.
Here’s a double barrel prediction: Holder isn’t going anywhere anytime soon and there could be big political fireworks ahead. [click to continue…]
Cops Cameras Capture Their Point of View
In a rare convergence of opinion both dedicated cops and community activists, as well as prosecutors and defense attorneys, agree: To help keep the peace and restore community confidence in law enforcement more cops should wear cameras.
Police believe video evidence would help curb those who falsely cry, “Police brutality!” And, civil rights advocates believe if cameras are rolling officers will behave better and harass them less.
There’s a recent Justice Department study to back that up and dramatic statistics from ongoing police camera programs that show when video is introduced into the equation the use of force goes way down and so do the number of citizen complaints. [click to continue…]