City Journal Winter 2016

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Winter 2016
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William J. Bratton and Paul Romer
Public Safety and Democracy « Back to Story

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Prof Aubrey Bonnett April 18, 2014 at 4:29 AM
This type of aid shd be facilitated by our State dept to developing nations in the Caribbean and Africa to wit Guyana, Trinidad Jamaica, Kenya , Haiti, Nigeria etc!!!!
As Mike Walsh; apart from it, let Mr Bratton eat his words:
Mr. Romer ignores the fact that a major reason for the rise in crime in the '60's and '70's was the decrease in incarceration that occurred during this period. Similarly a major reason for the decline in crime starting in the 90's was the increase in incarceration that begin in the late '80's and early '90's.

It is no doubt true that better policing strategies have and can reduce the need for incarceration. However, Mr. Romer's way of thinking contributed to signicant deincarantion once--with very bad consequences. Maybe that's another mistake, like the proper role of policing, he could grudgingly admit.
I’ve been a police officer in the Los Angeles area since 1990. I like Bratton have worked in specialized as well as municipal policing. I consider myself most fortunate to have worked in the same halls as he during my stint with the LAPD’s Inspector General. Bratton led the organization in a way that has made it more responsive to the needs of the communities it serves and an example for other agencies to proudly follow.

Bratton is a phenomenal leader in our profession and has understudies in every major U.S. city as well as many abroad. As a result of his decades long experience, his understanding of the causation and impact crime has on the quality of life, an economy and politics; has resulted in his numerous crime reduction (not controlling) strategies and public administration successes. His work relative to “Stop and Frisk” is genius.

As an African-American, I am grateful for the interaction and collaboration Commissioner Bratton had with my community during his tenure as LAPD’s Chief of Police. A majority of the initiatives he brought forth remain in place and are consistently successful in solving community issues. Los Angeles is a much better place because Bill Bratton served this city!
New York City is a great place. It was fun back during the crack epidemic of the early 1970s, despite that we were all running scared. Now it is much better for everyone.

We owe a big part of that to Bill Bratton. Crime came down everywhere, sure, but very few places got the improvements that Bratton's reforms to police management produced.

Two details:

"Closer to home, Detroit shows us that if they can, people will flee a city that fails to provide basic public safety." -- That oversimplifies. The auto industry actively discouraged other businesses over decades. That overlapped with them bailing out, taking their jobs south. Detroit is damn near a designed municipal failure.

And second, no one should be surprised that Bratton believes that "In a democratic society, the Number One obligation of the government is public safety."

He's a cop. What else you think he's going to believe? At the level of local police, he's probably right. Where this breaks down is seeing NSA and FBI go into the Internet Piracy business. That risks massive illegal acts from theft, blackmail, intimidation of political foes, even dictatorship. What Obama and Biden are doing is not the worry: consider the intrusion systems in the hands of an Aaron Burr, or Richard Nixon, or a nastier version of Spiro Agnew, a maniac such as Chris Christie.
This was a very engaging article, however I have a disagreement with the first point by Mr Bratton. The number one obligation of a democracy is to allow freedom to live life as we choose. Public safety is an enormous part of how that happens, but it is not number one.
What's lost on so many "experts" is that the new method of policing (indeed an entire new justice system is emerging) is not about increasing the power of the state. It's about dispersing it's power among other justice components (i.e. Community Courts) and the communities (citizens) it serves.

Citizens work in partnership with the Justice System and help craft new policies and operating procedures. The traditional system depends on the state passing more laws.
CJ already published this article in November. I suggest the editors go back and read the comments posted at that time, and then re-consider publishing anything else by Bratton.
In a democratic society, the Number One obligation of the government is public safety. And the criminal-justice system is the entity charged with that responsibility.

this statement is utterly false. Police have assumed this role, and many local governments have assigned it them, but that is NOT the original role of police. Nor should it be. The job of law enforcement is to protect the RIGHTS of individuals. The right to enjoy their own property unmolested, the right to freely move about, to associate with whom we will, and, (yes, this is a HUGE one, and the root of most urban crime problems) the right to own and have available the proper tools to defend one's rights, and those of our families and neighbours, ourselves. Yes, the right to arms. Review NYC's history on arms restriction. Sullivan, 1911 or so. It was, plain and simple, a tool used by the power factions to disarm their competition, leaving the police to settle matters with THEIR powers.
The major flaw in the "criminal justice" system is that it arises from the false premise that locking someone up for months or years "satisfies" their "debt to society". It does NOTHING to compensate victims, exact restitution, and costs taxpayers billions. It is self-feeding, the more "customers" the more money the bureaucracy gets, the bigger it gets, the more "customers' it can process.... return to the BIBLICAL model of restitution in cases of crime..... and throw away all the stupid laws about petty behaviour issues. Let local neighbourhoods deal with those by setting their own preferences. If the locals are fine with 300 people living in the park across from the UN, fine, let THEM decide. If they aren't, let them decide that... and force them to somewhere else. Arrest someone for JAYWALKING? Get real. Now, if he's impeding traffic in the street, fine... another matter. But crossing mid block when no one is coming? Or crossing against the signal with a large group so the motorists can SEE the pedestrians instead of driving over them?

Why not allow individual citizens to carry their own defensive weapons on their persons, rather than waiting, hoping, bleeding out, until some guy in a blue suit shows up to learn what happened, too late to prevent? The main problem is police have taken away the responsibilituy for local people to police themselves, to dictate what behaviour is acceptable in that neighbourhood, and so the pubic can walk calmly by while five thugs, in or out of police uniforms, can beat another man sensless and leave him there for dead.. or really dead. Pay for something (the ONLY ONES are the only ones who can DO anything) long enough, you get more of it. Instead, NYC cops of some flavour arrest about 350 innocent travellers per year who mistakenly believe New York's laws are essentially the same as back home... and so of COURSE they travel with a handgun legally checked in their airline luggage, or think there MUST be a way of checking their firearm securely for safekeeping as they enter certain buildings, the sign on the outside indicating "no guns in here". Ruined for life on a technicality that is a non-issue back home. THIS is Law Enforcement and "Criminal justice"? Sorry, no.

I know people who live in NYC, and I refuse to visit them. There are SO MANY wierd laws, it is so easy to run afoul of one or another and find one's self behind bars, legal fees costing more than the home I own back home. Justice? Nope. Then there are the coppers who do idiotic things like arrest a man and impound his car because they (the stupid coppers) think the manufacturer put the VIN on the car somewhere else than where they did, and so charge the guy with altering the serial number. The impound yard trashes the car, felony rap on the dumbfounded driver, months of court hassles, fees, costs, pay this fee to that hearing, can 't afford a lawyer but makes to much for the public defender.... gets official correspondence direct from the manufacturer proving the VIN is right where THEY put it... the cops walk, they
did it right", still no car two years later... and its just "police seeing to the safety of the people of New York"? Don't make me laugh. Or cry. You have a system that is broken from top to bottom and needs reinvented from the floor up. Until then I'll not even FLY through your city. et alone drive or ride my bike into it. Parly because I don't do either of the above without my own personal defensive weapon, and you say I can't do that... failing to protect MY RIGHT to do so, as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, and, I suspect, of New York State.