Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

In this blog I reference the Democrat/Biden platform on police. Here are a few direct quotes from the platform:

  • “reimagine public safety for the benefit of our people and the character of our country.”
  • “Democrats believe we must ensure real accountability for individual and systemic misconduct in our police departments, prevent law enforcement from becoming unnecessarily entangled in the everyday lives of Americans, and reimagine policing for the benefit and safety of the American people. ”
  • “Democrats will establish strict national standards governing the use of force, including permitting deadly force only when necessary and a last resort to prevent an imminent threat to life. We will require immediate application of these standards to all federal law enforcement agencies and condition federal grants on their adoption at the state and local level.”
  • “Democrats support lowering the intent standard for federally prosecuting law enforcement officials for civil rights violations. We will also act to ensure that victims of federal, state, or local law enforcement abuses of power can seek justice through civil litigation by reining in the doctrine of qualified immunity. ”

What do they mean by “reimagine?” According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary it is, “to form a new conception of” or “to think about again especially in order to change.” A few synonyms are redefine, correct, and revise.

I think we get the message and that is to change or revise policing as we currently know it within the United States.

Also note the use of federal financial blackmail once again. If a local police department does not accept their proscriptions regarding the use of deadly force, they will withhold federal grants to police departments, state, county and city. They also proposed “reimagining” the doctrine of qualified immunity for law enforcement personnel. Would you become an officer if you knew you could be civilly sued? Not me.

Presidential candidate Biden is having a hard time with this concept. Originally, during the Democrat debates he, as did the other candidates, voiced full throated support of defunding the police. Since then, he has walked back his original statement and he now argues that some funding for police should be redirected to social services like mental health, and calls for a $300M investment into a community policing programs. Neither the Democrat platform nor Biden has further defined what he actually intends.

On April 1, 2019, New York State enacted bail reform that eliminated cash bail for almost 90% of arrests and resulted in a 30% drop in the statewide jail population. The measure took effect on January 1, 2020, and the backlash from law enforcement, local newspapers, elected officials in opposition, the bail bond industry, and even the general public was strong, swift, and immediate. After 3 months, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the legislature approved roll backs to the law. Minimally they added additional crime categories that would be subject to cash bail.

Public safety, and you, the individual, is the loser in this equation because of the spike in crime, particularly from released defendants with pending charges. The New York legislation failed to empower judges with the discretion to restrict the liberty of criminal defendants who pose a threat to public safety or danger to the community. Judges lost the ability to have the discretion to detain people known to be dangerous and had the potential to be a risk to the general public.

 Lately, how many times have you seen a news story where a violent offender was released on cashless bail and committed another rape or murder? All too often. Here are some disturbing statistics compiled by the federal Department of Justice with regard to recidivism. Recidivism is related to a person who has served a sentence, is released and commits the same or similar crime upon release. Violent offenders recidivated at a higher rate than non-violent offenders. Over 60 percent (63.8%) of violent offenders recidivated by being rearrested for a new crime or for a violation of supervision conditions. Released prisoners with the highest rearrest rates were:

  • robbers (70.2%)
  • burglars (74.0%)
  • larcenists (74.6%)
  • motor vehicle thieves (78.8%)
  • those in prisonfor possessing or selling stolen property (77.4%)
  • those in prisonfor possessing, using or selling illegal weapons (70.2%)

Did you know that Domestic Violence (DV) calls are one of the most dangerous for an officer? Glendale’s policy is that the first responding officer must wait for backup before making contact at the call. I have been on police “ride-alongs” where it has taken 4 or more officers to subdue a person on drugs. Often, those on drugs have lost all sense of reality and are incredibly strong. It, too, is a very dangerous call for a single officer.

Can you picture in a “reimagined” police department a social worker answering either of these calls? I can’t.  These kinds of calls are just too volatile and dangerous. Yet, this is just one of the scenarios being proposed by the Democrats and Biden.

I love the men and women of the Glendale police department. I do not want to defund them or “reimagine” their jobs. I grew up respecting the police. To this day, when I see a police unit on the road, I slow down and check my speedometer to make sure I am not speeding. Police officers have one of the most difficult jobs in our society. They keep you and your family safe. They ensure that our kids can go out and play in our neighborhoods. They ensure that you can drive on a city street safely without the threat of being pulled out of your vehicle by an unruly mob. They ensure that you can dine on a restaurant’s patio without fear of your table being over turned. They deserve our respect and admiration for being willing to do a job from which most of us would run away.

 I am providing you with yet another Democrat/Biden platform. It is up to you, the voter, to educate yourselves and then to decide what your bottom line values are. Do they align with the Democrat/Biden solution to policing in our country?

It is an issue that affects us all whether we have ever had contact with law enforcement or not.  Police are truly the “thin blue line” between order and chaos. That’s my world and the one I wish to preserve.

© Joyce Clark, 2020         


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