Include The Police In Police Reform
Published: July 1st, 2020
By: Joe Angelino

Anyone who remembers watching wildlife or nature shows such as National Geographic or the Wild Kingdom should remember a frequently used scene of wildebeests grazing on an African plain. There would be a sudden clap of thunder, causing the animals to run franticly and aimlessly in whatever direction whether or not it leads to safety.

Lawmakers across the country at all levels of government are acting in the same manner. A few weeks ago, they were happily grazing with only COVID concerns on their minds. Then suddenly, the roar of the mobs demanded that all police officers must be punished and worse, vilified for the actions of a tiny minority in the profession.

With lightning speed, nearly every corner of society, businesses, politicians, and the media turned their backs on law enforcement. Popular cop shows canceled, police segments deleted from shows to thank pandemic first responders, and eateries refuse service to uniformed officers.

In typical knee-jerk fashion, city council and state house legislators are planning a utopia where police are no longer needed because unarmed civil servants will receive training to deescalate every situation peacefully. I’ve never been so glad as to now be in the twilight of my police career.

In our state under the reign of Cuomo the Second, treating criminals better than taxpayers has been a theme since he came into office. In 2011, within months of taking his position, Governor Cuomo set into motion the closing of two local correctional facilities; Camps Pharsalia and Georgetown. This action granted prisoners an early release and ended the multi-million dollar local payroll.

Throughout his governorship, New York leads the nation in the number of felons being allowed to vote. We’re also number one in prisoners receiving computer tablets, second to none in cop-killers and murderers paroled early and best in class at humiliating cops by dousing them with water.

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Not to be outdone by the governor. Our state’s namesake city’s Mayor de Blasio encouraged protesters to take over Gotham’s streets at the busiest times of day to protest against the police. The protestor’s chants of “pigs in a blanket, fry ‘em like bacon” came within days of burying a New York City police officer, killed in the line of duty. The mayor also allowed prisoners to leave jail early and offered them Mets tickets for good behavior.

Laws to make policing more difficult are all the rage in legislative chambers near and far. Nothing is too small that it can’t be legislated into making cops into criminals. Now, even an officer’s uniform nameplate worn incorrectly could be a misdemeanor.

It would be a joy to hear just one elected official denounce resisting arrest; this is precisely where all of the anti-police rhetoric beings. When officers are sent to keep the peace or arrest a criminal, and someone challenges a lawful order of an officer. This situation is what we pay the police to do. Society expects the police to deal with all the things they know need to be dealt with but never do themselves. With our current culture and into the foreseeable future, an officer’s best course of action is not to make an arrest, which is another win for criminals and loss for crime victims.

A few months ago, our state was the epicenter of the COVID-19 virus. Our governor turned to medical experts seeking advice on how to deal with treating the illness, containment, and quarantine. But, when a situation arises about how to deal with law enforcement issues, no police executive has consulted on how to institute change.

As an active member of the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police, I know some well-educated and conscientious law enforcement executives are eager to offer assistance to make needed reforms. All they ask for is a seat at the table and to be heard. None have been asked to contribute. We are all seeing the results of the 2019 Bail Reform legislation that neglected to consult with police and prosecutors before taking effect.

The anti-police sentiment starts at the top of our state’s elected positions, and it needs to stop. All that is being accomplished is making a dangerous and challenging job exacerbated to a point where it will be challenging to attract people who want to enter police work as a career. Maybe that’s some people’s goal all along?

Borrowing words from the Monty Python Troupe, “now for something completely different.” A couple of Wednesdays from now will be my third anniversary of publishing over 150 weekly columns. If you haven’t heard, I’m on the verge of obtaining out of town employment. When that happens, I won’t have much time to devote to writing this column. It would be great if some dedicated person, who recognizes the importance and relevance of a small town daily paper, would take over and improve this space in the Evening Sun for three years or beyond. Inquire within.