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Saturday, February 27, 2016


 I found this video yesterday on-line. It is Judge Vonda Evans before she sentences a Detroit area Police Officer ( most likely former Police officer now) for his racist beating of an African American man after a traffic stop.

I originally thought I would only make it through the first few seconds of a "high and mighty": Judge's lecture from the bench. But Judge Evan's remarks actually pinpointed the problems we have when we hire human beings to keep our communities safe. Or at least we try to.

After watching the full video, we need to realize here in Hartford, that we are fortunate to have the Police Department w have. Is it perfect? No. We have a Chief, and finally now a Mayor, that seems to actually get the meaning of Community Oriented Policing. It is not just a buzz word to throw around and make things sound good. But it is a mind set that both the Community and the Officers patrolling our neighborhoods need to buy into.

Thursday nights Town Hall meeting is a good start, but I think there needs to be a lot more education. The community needs to understand how the Police Department functions and the constraints that are put on any Police Department by staffing and Budget issues Why can't I have a Police Officer at my door within five minutes after I call?

We can't be afraid to say maybe because we haven't hired in years and we are over 100, probably more, officers short of where we should be. And as much as they would like to be at your door in minutes, resources are tied up responding to the woman in Blue Hills lying on her front porch for cover as gun shots were just fired in front of her driveway as she parked her car.

And we as a community also need to be part of the solution. Law enforcement are not meant to be surrogate parents for those children  in our community growing up without adults acting like adults in their lives. We need to develop much better programs to mentor and build strong neighborhoods. And end the path to prison for so many of our youth.

There is a lot more to accepting Grant checks for these programs than cashing the check and giving yourself the title of Executive Director  with a huge salary. We need to start demanding a return on our investments. Accountability and status reports need to be a requirement. A "non-profit" should not also be allowed to be "non-producing".

Judge Evans seems to get it, and she isn't afraid to say it. I think we need a lot more of that to get things on track

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I too was galvanized by the judge's oratory. This 20 minute speech which is what it was, should be used in every police academy throughout the nation. It won't but it should. The biggest mistake that honest, humble, hard-working police do in the course of their job, is to protect their fellow officers when one commits an aggression that anyone else would be arrested for and charged.

And please Mr Brookman, don't think for one moment that we don't have this problem here in Hartford. We do. Don't white-wash, sort of speak. Even I, as a white man, have found myself in police situations that could have too easily gone in a negative direction save for my friendliness and non-threatening behavior and most importantly, my WHITENESS.

I am sometimes optimistic and at other times, pessimistic, depending on the situation. With regard to police misconduct, I am more pessimistic in the ability of police organizations to weed out the poor choices. Part of the problem is the police unions, all of which should be rendered obsolete and banned. So, as I meet a police on any level, my mind automatically begins a selection process; good police and human or pig. And unfortunately, there remain plenty of pigs in Hartford. You even find them on these boards.

Until the pigs are pulled from the poke,, things won't change. Yes, we have a dedicated group here in Hartford and am comforted by their presence. And I do my best to assist reporting a crime when possible. But it's those damn pigs that are only fired after committing a humongous crime. Get rid of the pigs and allow all of us the chance to dismiss our cynicism.

That judge's soliloquy did bring tears to my eyes. It was an unusual and lengthly rebuke from the bench. Praise to her wisdom. Maybe it resonated somewhere in the depths of that officer. I hope part of his after prison sentence will be to do community volunteering for a length of time. And if it is not mandated, then he should do it anyways for his own redemption.