Improving Public Safety

For years I have worked with many different groups for reform to our police department.  I have watched corrupt police chiefs doctor evidence, officers beat up innocent people, people get arrest for video taping officers, many cases of officers using excessive force, and young black men getting harassed on a daily basis.  Despite this our crime rates are the highest in the state and we are experiencing an unprecedented rise in shootings. While we have enough officers in the department what we seem to lack is enough supervision.  Too often we see police cars parked in out the way places, or two cars in a parking lot talking to each other.  Officers leave their cars running with impunity, while 5 cars often show up for a traffic stop.  Now the problem is not that we have bad officers but that they need to be better trained and have real supervision.  The police are essential to a well ordered city but presently they are overburdened, dispatched poorly, and under supervised.

 For years Adam McFadden has been the chair of the public safety committee for the city and claimed he is the check upon the department.  Yet under his tenure there has been numerous high profiles problems and he has done nothing.  Further crime continues to be a huge problem.

What we need is to have more responsibility and this can be done with two simple changes.  First we need to get police body cameras with effective policies to make sure they are used in all appropriate situations.  Then we need an effective Civilian Review Board.  This board needs to have investigative power, the ability to modify police policy, change police procedures, and mandate training for the officers who need it.

Finally we need to stop using officers for non-crime related activities.  Presently we use uniformed officers as crossing guards downtown, desk clerks at the public safety building and many other support or non-enforcements tasks. If lesser trained individuals are hired for these tasks than more officers could be on the streets even if the force was reduced to cover the cost of these new employees.

With these policies we can increase the effectiveness of our police and hopefully make our streets safer.

Listen to Alex...

...on Transforming Rochester on Rochester Free Radio. You can see when it's on at the Rochester Free Radio show schedule.

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