Saturday, April 10, 2010

Burgess of Pittsburgh Still Has No Clue How To Control Police

Ricky Burgess Introduces The Jordan Miles Package of Bills

They still don’t get it! Jordan Miles is the viola player that was beaten into pulp by Pittsburgh police last January while on his way to orchestra practice because he was thought to be carrying a gun. It was a bottle of Mountain Dew.

We have cops on every street in America who are equally clueless. When anybody cannot tell the difference between a sidearm and a soda bottle, they can’t be trusted with a license to kill. So, why does Pittsburgh hand out such licenses to a police force of about 850?

Councilman Ricky Burgess, above, without claiming guilt on the part of the cops in question, was reported as saying in the WDUQ report,

"What I have said is that this incident allows us the opportunity to go beyond it and begin to heal the relationship. What I want to do is to embark on a process, not a single piece of legislation or five pieces of legislation, but a process." Burgess says the bills are all aimed at helping to build trust between police and the community. Dowd counters that there is nothing in the legislation that would have prevented the confrontation between police and Miles. The bills deal with getting the police department accredited, putting video cameras in police cars, placing officers on administrative leave, requiring yearly reports from the chief of police and forcing the Citizens Police Review Board to investigate any case where a suspect is seriously injured or killed.

Read the report for yourself, but get the disconnect between the City Council and the real problem. Burgess says--

· Get departments accredited

· Require yearly report from the Chief

· Require CRB to investigate killings and injuries

· Put video cameras in police cars

· Administrative leave for accused cops

His own additional words only make it worse. Burgess wants to “embark on a process” and “heal the relationship”. He wants to build trust between the police and the community. He doesn’t get it. The citizens are currently dealing with the schoolyard bully and the classroom cheat in cop uniforms. What kind of relationship can we expect with that?

There is nothing to heal, there is no process to embark on. Cops do not act in good faith, and consider deception a tool of their trade. As any citizen who has tried to converse with a cop will report, if you ask a cop something, he will lie to you, if you tell a cop something, he will argue with you. Verbal communication with a cop is useless. Bringing a police representative to a negotiation is like pointing your finger at a piranha. There is virtually no respect in them.

Dealing with police on a level playing field is not the way to control cops, and control is what citizens need to apply. It must be remembered that cops are in the business of not listening to learn; they only listen to argue. (Blame the Academy.) Want proof?

“Anything you say WILL BE used against you in a court of law”.

“Will be”. Sound familiar? A police department cannot be molded into the extension of the citizenry they are supposed to be if cops are given an inch of wiggle room. The leash must be short, but the Pittsburgh City Council is giving them enough leash to wrap around every citizen’s neck by simply allowing the PD a place at the negotiation table.

Councilman’s 5-Part Plan

Why do any of the five pieces of legislation being offered by Ricky Burgess require any legislation anyway? These are things a Hire and Fire Citizen Review Board could do in one meeting. Let’s look at them--

Get accredited.

For what? It is the will of the people the PD is hired to serve that matters. The CRB can accredit whomever they want, or not. They don’t need to be accredited.

Require a yearly report from the Chief.

If Chief Nate Harper isn’t doing that now, he is an organizational slob. Reports should be compiled daily and published weekly at least. Turning them over to the CRB is a simple formality.

Require the CRB to investigate all injuries and killings by cops.

Automatic and assumed. That is what a Hire & Fire CRB is for.

Put video cameras in all police cars.

Video cameras in every police vehicle with both forward and backward views are already in the works in Pittsburgh, so no problem there, unless the cops don’t turn them on when they start their shift. (Connecting them to the ignition may help that. Penalties of up to a day’s pay for the cop who doesn’t activate his video may help that too.)

Administrative leave for cops in question.

Well, that one leaves some room for improvement. The best way to tell a cop he has “done wrong” is to fire him, and not to give him a desk job at full pay. His firing, however, can amount to administrative leave without pay by simply providing all the proper forms to that cop to apply for a job with the PD on his way out the door. If this method is used, his work record and educational background would be reviewed and updated, his experience would be considered, and if rehired, he would be more accurately placed in a position suited to his strengths, eliminating paid downtime. Police employees need to be utilized to the best advantage for the citizens, just like all other jobs citizens hold, and it isn’t hard to do if we use citizen oversight.

It is for sure that no cop will assist in the application of any of Councilman Burgess’s legislative suggestions. It is the police department’s goal to take forever to accomplish police control. We must leave them out of the decision making.

When will the City Council get that message? When will Ricky Burgess lead the Council as well as the citizens of Pittsburgh in a direction that will solve the problem, as opposed to simply prolonging it? This is a situation for the people to determine and solve, not for the employees of the Pittsburgh Police department to judge. Empower the CRB with Hire & Fire.

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