Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Springfield shorts

Springfield blogger Bill Dusty has an excellent post at MassLive that gives a history of the current Community Complaint Review Board and why the board was problematic from the start.  Funny, I remember talking to a couple of the board members a few months after their appointment and they seemed really bewildered about what their job was and how they were expected to do it.

Joe Gentile, the president of Springfield's Local 364, International Brotherhood of Police Officers, released a statement today in support of Officer Jeffrey Asher.  You can read the whole statement at MassLive, but here's one paragraph that jumped out at me:
The unwarranted public attacks on Off. Asher and the other officers involved in the arrest
of Mr. Jones have a price. Most good police work is proactive, being the result of officers actively seeking out lawbreakers and making arrests. The current “lynch mob” reaction to the Jones arrest is a message to all police officers to do as little as possible, because if something goes wrong, some segments of the community you are supposed to protect, and even some of your elected officials, will throw you to the mob.
Mr. Gentile implies-- no, not implies, come right out and says--  that because the public criticizes a particular officer or officers, that other police officers interpret that as a message to be less pro-active, to do less to protect the public.  I don't have a hard time imagining that that is exactly how many officers are feeling right now.  But there is another solution: Clean house!  Aim for the absolute highest standards for your officers.  Train, train, train.  And don't give up.  Springfield police officers have plenty of allies but shouldn't waste their capital in defense of the indefensible.  It's not that we haven't heard Officer Jeffrey Asher's name before.

Finally, U.S. District Judge Michael A. Ponsor has ordered former city councilor and former shelter director Francis Keough back to federal prison for four months for violating the terms of his parole.  He has to report  in 30 days. I still think Frank should have been sentenced to toilet-cleaning at his former shelter.

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