How many people took notice last week when Norwich Police Chief Rodney Marsh said at a city council meeting, “we have had more failures to comply with traffic stops in the past year than in my 27 years of service.” Translated, this means people are thumbing their nose at the police and driving away when police command them to pull over.
No one should be surprised at this insolence and disrespect for authority. It has its origins from the top down. New York politicians have created laws, in the name of social justice, which have given carte blanche to criminals with no consideration to victims or law officers.
What should surprise all of us is the fact the police still chase after criminals. The cops most likely know nothing is going to happen to the offenders once they are caught. Eventually, the police will tire of risking their lives in these pursuits, or their administrators will prohibit chases altogether, and lawlessness will begin.
Going hand-in-hand with lawlessness, and just as bad is vigilantism. Frustrated citizens will first take out their wrath publicly on the police. Next, the citizenry may privately take the law into their own hands when the opportunity arises.
There are several people in positions of elected authority who have suggested rethinking these reform laws. However, the leader of the state legislature, namely Assembly Leader Heastie (D-Bronx), shows no sign of turning back. He feels the new laws are all for the public good.
The irony is there are cops and DA’s who are in favor of some bail law reform. Believe it or not, police officers have a great deal of compassion toward their fellow man. When doing the job of policing a community, it is tragic to arrest someone for shoplifting food. Not extravagant meals or foodstuffs, but a shoplifter taking a box of cereal tugs at anyone’s emotions.
Sadly, the police and prosecutors were not invited to the discussion about bail reform. Had law enforcement been included, we could have explained many petty, non-violent offenses don’t require a person to sit in a cell for weeks. It’s expensive and not necessary. We could also remind people about the evil people who lurk in every community. Right now, some nasty and dangerous people are walking among us, who, a few weeks ago, were secured in correctional facilities.
Surprisingly, there isn’t more of a public outcry about these topsy-turvy laws. My only explanation is there are only a few people who are victims of crimes. But, the odds are beginning to turn for the worse as more criminals are loose on the streets. Eventually, you or a loved one will cross paths with someone who should be in jail.
Right now, our judges have their discretionary authority tied behind their backs by ill-written legislation. Since January 1st in New York City, a particular woman had been arrested for back-to-back offenses involving street attacks on Jewish women. Immediately after her second release, she had yet another unwanted physical contact with a person. Finally, an exasperated judge decided to commit the woman to a psychiatric facility for being a danger to others. This is only a temporary hold, though.
Then there is the case of the serial bank robber who held up five, yes five, banks in Brooklyn in the span of a week. He was arrested four times and released on tickets. His fifth and last bank heist was January 8th, and he’s currently still on the lamb. The police haven’t caught him, or maybe they stopped looking with the thought, if he shows up in court on his previous tickets, he’ll just be issued another.
It’s not only the Big Apple with examples of the new revolving door justice; there are egregious cases in upstate New York, too. In Colonie, in the Capital District, they also have released a serial bank robber on an appearance ticket, only this criminal had three robbery convictions on his past record. The previous behavior didn’t matter, the judge had to release him under the current laws.
Closer to home, the New Hartford Police last Tuesday arrested the same woman twice in less than three hours for shoplifting thousands of dollars of merchandise from the Macy’s store in the mall there. Each time she was issued an appearance ticket leaving store employees shaking their heads.
You can probably tell this lawlessness and disrespect for other people, and their property bothers me. I have spent an entire lifetime, protecting people and their possessions from criminal injury, theft, and damage. If anyone can explain how this lunacy is helping our society, I invite you to send a letter to the Editor to change my mind.