Saturday, December 7, 2013

New York City has a new Mayor who recently selected a new Police Commissioner.  Well, he isn’t all that new to New York since he already held the position in the 1990”s.  He is William Bratton who has been credited with cleaning up Boston and Los Angeles.  Yes, few men can say they have been Police Commissioner of cities of millions of people multiple times but my friend and former boss Billy B. is doing just that remarkable feat in his lifetime and loving every minute of it.

The last time he worked in New York I also worked as a  Attorney in the legal division writing briefs and reports on police policies.  In recent years there has been much conflict between the citizens and the police force.  Many cities lost sight that he police are humble servants of the tax paying citizens they were hired to protect and serve.  Mr. Bratton never lost that vision and has been able in the past to eradicate the divide between the people and the police.
There is an interesting book out that explores the issues of cop vs. citizen called Rise of The Warrior Cop the militarization  of America’s police force by Radley Balco. It explores the changes that have been made in the approach to criminals in recent years.  If you are a suspected criminal in the mid-west and give a cop any problem you are probably dead Yet, we have countries in the world like Germany that the cops do not offer any  significant lethal force.

In 2011, in the entire country of Germany, all of their police shot a total of 89 bullets. The semi-automatic weapons we use in this country shoot that many bullets within seconds and our police forces do just that in seconds.  49 of those shots in Germany were warning shots.    I also taught lessons in the Police Academy and have noticed a shift in the thought process there .
During the last 20 years, the emphasis of the classes that the rookies have to take has switched from the emphasis on de-escalation  conflict resolution to how to justify force after you have already used it. It is this type of warrior mentality that I am sure the new Mayor- elect wants to change during his reign  as Mayor of New York.  The issue of racial profiling was brought to a height recently.  He even used his mixed race son as a campaign poster for election to emphasis a need for change.  

Emptying your clip should not be your warning shot even though as a cop myself I remember dealing with the  lowest of low characters on the street.  Cops do not have much interaction with the typical law abiding citizen.  In Boston, many cops emptied many clips of guns into the bomber kid. It is typical for a suspect like the kid who had a toy gun on him went down and died from 6 bullets to his torso instead of one bullet to his leg.
There have been cases reported where citizens were stopped under suspicion for drug possession who were stripped searched, the District Attorney and the Judge gives the authority to get a z-ray, rubber glove exam, an enema, sedate and surgery and a colonoscopy all in the effort to find drugs hidden in the body  This treatment of suspicion happens all the time in New Mexico.  Constitutional Lawyers and Medical Ethics Professionals will all agree that this treatment of suspects is illegal and unethical but police do it under the halo of immunity.

We have laws and rights but these professionals get away with rough treatment of people  and nothing much happens to them.  I am all for apprehending the criminal swiftly and efficiently but we also can not have the ordinary citizen being afraid to walk freely when a cop is around.

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