The dictionary describes Reformation as the action or process of reforming an institution or practice. It all sounds really good. However, in my opinion be careful what you reform, and most especially know who the reformers are. An old saying often attributed to Benjamin Franklin describes Democracy as "4 Wolves and a Lamb voting for what to have for dinner -- Liberty -- is a well armed Lamb contesting the vote."
For those of you who are not cops, I want to say, this also involves you. Your stake in police reform is real. I'm revisiting the subject of the Chicago Police Consent decree, a rough draft of the Chicago Police Department's investigation by the U S Department of Justice. I won't dizzy you with the details of the 200 page draft, suffice to say some of the recommendations need to be discussed. Part of the draft calls for citizen input from the ACLU and the Black Lives Matter Movement, or any citizen who sees fit to weigh in on the matter. Astonishingly enough, the Police Union or any officers for that matter were not asked for any type of input, and their challenge in a court of law was rejected, regardless of the fact that they will be the ones most impacted by some of these so called reform suggestions. In other words, thousands of experienced cops, the way it stands now, will not have their day in court so to speak.
My intention here is to avoid being considered a "whiney" cop sympathizer who is spewing the usual; you've never walked in our shoes, you never had to face the horrors we see and deal with on a daily basis, you've never had to make life death decisions in just milliseconds or you never faced the level of scrutiny we face in the performance of duty. You get the picture. Sounds like something you've all heard. However, the fact is it's 97% true. Cops have been involved in just 0.84% of almost 2,000 people shot in Chicago this year. The nation's street stops are in the hundreds of thousands monthly and the percentage of incidents are well short of 1%. To put it simply we are being judged as a whole because of a relatively few that go wrong or are controversial.
One prominent American newspaper columnist actually called for the end of street stops in America, including traffic stops. His solution is, we should film the violation and contact the offender later so as not to have a confrontation. Think about that for even a second. It would be worthy of a line in a comedy club.
The following is a list of the demands proposed by the ACLU and the Black Lives Matter Movement. Officers will be encouraged to avoid arresting people over minor offenses and would need permission from supervisors to make arrests for certain infractions. Some of the suggestions are that the department be required to create a policy that encourages officers to use the least intrusive responses and encourage them to give warnings to divert people to MEDIATION or public health programs. So now we are asking the cops to give up the power of arrest, make medical evaluations as to a persons mental health, and to call a supervisor who did not witness the crimes, described as INFRACTIONS to give approval for an arrest. a crude person would say "you cannot make shit like that up."
The infractions they list are as follows; they range from gambling and prostitution, to obstructing, resisting, or assaulting an officer. Imagine that for a second. Those are crimes in the State of Illinois, the United States, and most of the civilized world. So what they are suggesting is, because of a small number of people who are committing those crimes they should be afforded the protections that 99% of the people in the country obey in a decent civilized society. They further suggest that all cops, who even unholster their weapons in the course of duty, be made to leave reports of such incidents. My response was an editorial in the the Sun-Times on 29 July which I labeled "Nuts." Any cop responding to the thousands of shots fired reports in Chicago on any given week who does not give himself or herself the advantage in a deadly situation is careless at best.
Reporting such incidents means hundreds of hours of lost patrol time and just adds to the already volumes of unnecessary paper work. My inspiration for the word "NUTS"came from World War II General Anthony McAuliffe when at the Battle of Bastogne he replied to a German surrender demand with one word on a crumpled piece of paper, "NUTS." My feelings exactly in this matter.
The Department of Justice came to the conclusion that since foot pursuits seemed to sometimes involve shootings and the use of force, they want the Department to enact a policy on foot pursuits. In my opinion if that policy is anything other than continue the pursuit, we are really in trouble. Imagine if criminals realized all they had to do was flee. Where would it all stop? Foot pursuits are more than likely to involve people avoiding arrest, and people who avoid arrest will resist. They are fleeing for a reason and cops are not trained nor should they be to just let people who commit crimes simply run away. Confrontations are inevitable but to become a department who simply overlooks crimes is criminal in itself. If the politicians and the people want the cops to turn a blind eye to criminal behavior, decriminalize those crimes and the cops will obey. Of that I have no doubt. Common sense needs to come to the table. All involved need to be at that table and not just the Lamb contesting the vote.
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