A few days into August, I was looking for information about what is going on in Portland. I know there protest and riots have continued, but extraordinarily little actual reporting has reached my screen.
I try not to accept at face value every post I read in social media, (I hope you don’t either) I try to run the information down by checking source material, or at least a verified entity reporting from the source of the information.
I found an article dated August 6, 2020 written by Maxine Bernstein of the Oregonian/OregonLive, titled “Community members make impassioned plea for city officials to pay attention to Portland shootings, gang violence”. Well this is something I have not seen reported in traditional news outlets in my market.
The article begins with a discussion of a woman, Katie Louis, trying to make sense of the murder of her 22-year-old son who was killed in an ambush style murder, and demanding that Portland city officials step up and address the violence in their city.
The story points out that the homicides in July 2020 is the larger number of homicides in more than thirty years. In normal times, a spike this severe would cause city officials to scramble for answers and solutions. But these are not normal times, are they?
And if the officials in Portland want answers about how this spike happened all they would need to do is to read this article, because the answer is right there…”The mayor, who serves as police commissioner, and City Council voted unanimously in June to remove funding for the 34-member gun violence team amid concerns that it disproportionately targeted Black people in traffic stops.”
Eliminate a team of officers dedicated to reducing gun violence and the very next month the city experiences the worse rate of homicide in thirty years. Cause and affect seem obvious.
There are people who say that the American military lost the war in Vietnam. No, they did not. They were betrayed by politicians who called the shots, picked the targets and determined how the battle was to be fought. What ever losses were experienced in Vietnam were the responsibility of the politicians…and the same thing is happening in our cities today.
Politicians, have maligned, sidelined, hobbled, and defunded our police agencies all in an effort to curry favor with certain segments of society…and if anyone is objective, they will see that that segment is largely criminal. This is not about black, white, or brown…it is about corrupt politicians who are shielding and protecting criminals in our society at the expense of honest citizens who rely on the police to stand between them and the underbelly of our society.
When I say corrupt, I do not mean to suggest that they are accepting bribes or benefits (other than votes); no, I mean they have corrupt values, they have a corrupt moral compass that has turned them away from what is necessary in American society—a government that sees its first duty is to protect the citizens from harm.
I am a retired police lieutenant, from a city much smaller than Portland, but like most cities with problems of crime and violence and gangs. I supervised a crime impact team, not unlike Portland’s gun violence team, but a little broader in their focus, because our resources were very limited. A focused approach to a violent problem works. A team dedicated to a serious problem can impact that problem and remove that problem from the community. The problem in these “woke” communities is that they seem to think that you can have a safe community while ignoring the people who commit the violence.
The next time you want a cake, a pie or even some donuts stop by your local car dealership and ask they to sell you some donuts, or stop by the local computer store and try to buy a cake. Odds are you will be unsuccessful. If you want baked goods you will need to go to a store that sells baked goods. Police work is no different.
If you want to impact gun violence you need to focus on the area of the community where gun violence is more prevalent. If that area of town is predominately occupied by people of color, then it stands to reason that the team will interact with more people of color. You could go to the area of the community where there is less gun violence in an effort to insure your contacts are more proportional, but what would be the point in spending time where there is less violence and ignoring the areas with more violence.
No, I am not endorsing racial profiling. Racial profiling for an officer is like a set of blinders that cause other crimes to be missed. I fully endorse going after any criminal, anytime, and any place. I was an equal opportunity cop…I’d arrest anyone.
I do favor using crime stats and criminal analysis in an effort to focus law enforcement efforts in places and at times when they can be most effective. That is the best use of public resources and precious tax dollars.
During my last few years on the job, I taught criminal justice classes at the local community college. Some of my black students complained about blacks being arrested. I told them that I understood and that I would institute a new policy. Blacks comprised 18% of the community, I told my students that I would not allow my officers to arrest any blacks for any crimes until the percentage of blacks arrested were 18% or less.
My students looked at each other and then looked by at me and said, “You can’t do that”.
I said, “Yes I can, I’m the boss, they will do the job I tell them to do”.
Again, they said, but with more emphasis this time, “NO, you can’t.”
I then asked them, “Why not?”
My question was met with silence.
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