A retired Philadelphia police captain with a reputation for controversy and the mayor of Chester, Pa. were among those who described police realities and potential reforms to a crowd of about 20, yesterday, April 12, at a symposium on community policing sponsored by Democracy Unplugged.
The event was held at Swarthmore Borough Hall on a beautiful, sunny Sunday spring afternoon.
The captain, Ray Lewis, made international headlines with his association with Occupy Wall Street. He said those who run police departments suffer from a “John Wayne syndrome” which affects hiring decisions. This leads to officers not inclined to maintain good community relations.
Lewis said if the applicant scores high on sensitivity and empathy he is not hired.
He also said training is poorly prioritized with almost all of it directed towards physical fitness, firearms and unarmed combat.
“Police work is 95 percent social work,” he said.
He stressed the importance of good training officers and said that dispute mediation and stress management should be emphasized. Lewis, who served 19 of his 26 years in inner city Philadelphia, said that his training officer was a womanizing, brutal, drunken thief. He said that just the nature of the job hardens one.
Lewis encouraged video recording police encounters by passersby.
“Good cops will love being recorded,” he said albeit he said praise has to accompany such recordings.
Lewis said that he believed that unlike in the United Kingdom, American police need to carry firearms.
He said his support for Occupy Wall Street came from his suspicion that most billionaires are lawless sociopaths.
Lewis was wearing his captain’s uniform which got him so much grief during the OWS demonstrations.
Chester Mayor John Linder said 533 guns have been confiscated from criminals in his crime-ridden city since he took office in 2012.
“People are solving problems with guns,” he said.
Linder also took issue with certain shibboleths regarding diversity. He said that 24 of the 100 officers that serve his predominantly black city are African-Americans with five being Hispanic and the rest being white.
“My goal is to get police officers, good police officers,” he said. “My view is if we get people who reflect the hue, fine, but quality comes first.”
He thought the racial turmoil over recent incidents is overblown.
“I hear this all the time ‘what about Ferguson?’ I say what about Chester?”
Linder who as a young man took part in civil rights era protests expressed the opinion that these outcries are cyclical.
“How do you get rid of Fergusons? Get responsible police.”
He noted the Chester Police Department has had very few allegations of using excessive force.
“If you are professional, I’ll back you 100 percent,” he said. If you are not professional I’m going to deal with you 100 percent.”
Linder said that the urban environment is not as stable as it used to be.
“Calls come in too quick,” he said. “There is no time to sit down and make a friend.”
Swarthmore Police Chief Brian Craig spoke regarding policing in the suburbs.
Craig, a former Philadelphia police officer, said what he found to be a shocking difference was parking meters.
“In my first six months, 50 percent of my time was dealing with parking meters,” he said.
He said police work has gotten more dangerous than it was when he started in 1971. He cited drugs, the 9/11 attacks and the Columbine High School massacre.
He noted that the local police followed procedure regarding the 1999 school massacre setting up a perimeter as they were trained. The procedure, however, failed to account for the killings still occurring inside. Craig said the procedure has now been changed.
Craig emphasized the importance of community relations. He said that on the 25th anniversary of Philadelphia Columbia Avenue race riots, one of the local TV news stations appeared to be trying to stir the pot for an encore. He said, however, community outreach stopped it.
Regarding budget matters, Craig noted that school districts get their requests in first and overwhelmingly get the bigger piece of the pie.
William Taylor Reil, a constitutional scholar, warned of widespread ignorance of the Constitution among law enforcement. He said, for instance, that the Pennsylvania constitution made the sheriff the highest law enforcement officer in the county, a circumstance that is routinely ignored. He noted that county sheriff is an elected office unlike most police officials.
Reil also took issue with the term “law enforcement officer” having replaced “peace officer.”
“Law enforcement means don’t question just do what it says,” he said.
Libertarian activist Darren Wolfe spoke on community policing. He said privately run police departments could save money and be more effective. He cited as examples mall security guards and security companies hired by gated communities.
The moderator was David Easlea and the introduction was made by Bob Small.
“The RFS requires fuel suppliers to blend millions of gallons of biofuels – most often corn ethanol – into the nation’s gasoline supplies,” he said. “This results in higher gas prices, increased food costs, damage to car engines, and harm to the environment. This is nothing more than the government using corporate welfare to shower money on a favored industry and then send the bill to the general public. You deserve better.”
The mandate is strongly supported by Iowa farmers and presidential candidates notably avoid opposing the issue in that early primary state.
Pennsylvania State Rep. Joe Hackett (R-161) and Sen. Dominic Pileggi (R-9) have introduced bills that would end the penalty for bringing into the Keystone State liquor, wine and beer purchased elsewhere.
The law now provides for fines of $25 per bottle, cost of prosecution and 90 days in jail.
Both men represent constituencies on or very near the Delaware border and we suspect many, if not most, of their constituents know the address of Total Wine and Tri-State Liquors.
Pileggi notes that attempt is not connected to the attempts to de-communize the Commonwealth’s liquor distribution system — which he describes as facing a “fundamental disagreement” in the legislature — and expects it to pass.
Still, Wendell Young IV, the well-paid head of United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1776 who inherited his $292,765 job from his father, Wendell Young III, has come out against it so don’t expect a slam dunk.
Local 1776’s fiefdom includes the proles in the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board distribution system.
Forty-nine Democrats in the U.S. Senate led by former Saturday Night Live comedy writer Al Franken of Minnesota have proposed a Constitutional amendment that would declare that First Amendment speech protection does not apply to corporations.
These brilliant (that’s sarcasm) thinkers in seeking to restrict speech just for those of whom they disapprove failed to account for the reality that just about all our news and entertainment outlets are corporations.
Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz spanks Franken et al as he points out that those who write and produce Saturday Night Live — which is the property of NBC which is owned by Philadelphia-based Comcast CORPORATION — could conceivably face jail time for their satirical sketches if this Democrat amendment should pass.
Victoria Miller owns W.W. Bridal Boutique in Bloomsburg, Pa. A lesbian couple asked her to provide wedding gowns. She declined saying she did not approve of same sex marriage on religious grounds.
Rather than just nodding and taking their business elsewhere as most would do if offended by a store, they launched a hate campaign forcing Ms. Miller to take down her social media sites and hire a lawyer.
Some ignorant types are going to say that discriminating on these matters is the same as discrimination against blacks in the Jim Crow era. It’s not. The Jim Crow discrimination was mandated by law. Jim Crow was big government that prevented free enterprise i.e. the opening of a store that would serve all to compete with the white-only one.
What Ms. Millier did is no different than a black baker refusing to decorate a cake with a Confederate flag to celebrate the founding of the Ku Klux Klan.
Nobody is taking about stopping the opening of a bridal shop to cater to same sex couples.
H8ers will H8 though whether they be white supremacists or gay activists.
H8ers Torment Bloomsburg Bridal Shop in Pennsylvania
Flanagan has yet to be charged with anything although raiders did take notes pertaining to Ms. Hudson regarding stories she had written exposing problems in the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Air Marshals Service, and questioned her as to whether she was the Audrey Hudson who was writing those nasty stories.
The raid occurred at 4:30 a.m. and the raiders were wearing full body armor.
Have you read about this in the establishment mouthpiece papers? Silly question.
Rand Paul Defense Of Life — Rand Paul (R-Ky), who may be the freshest breeze to blow through Washington since Reagan, has unveiled The Life At Conception Act (S 583) which “declares that the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being beginning at the moment of fertilization, cloning, or other moment at which an individual comes into being,” and “prohibits construing this Act to require the prosecution of any woman for the death of her unborn child.”
Paul, who has a doctorate of medicine from Duke and spent two decades in private practice, is following the evidence to where it leads and deserves only praise.
It would be adequate to simply seek to return the debate to the states — which means continuing the fight to overturn the legally and logically dubious Roe v. Wade decision — and far more safer politically. It would also be politically safer to make a stand using the traditional standard as to the existence of life which is the pulse and starts for certain four weeks after conception.
Still, if you want to be absolutely certain that another’s life is not being taken, then conception would be the starting place that you would chose.