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Solano Aids Coalition Needs Your Help

The SAC Thrift Center is closing its doors on January 31st. Everything in the store is 50% off. We need to raise money in order to relocate and ask that you please show your support and stop by between 10am - 5pm, Tuesday thru Friday and 8am - 4pm on Saturday - 401 Georgia St.- Please tell your family and friends.Thank you for all your support.

 

Thank you for you help.

Mario Saucedo

 


 

Young Black Men and Police Officers

 

 

 

By Jim Davis

1/27/13

In January (1/26/13 meeting, ed.) I attended a meeting on public safety that focused on the Country Club Crest community.  First, Lieutenant Lee Horton of the Vallejo Police Department explained the general procedures used by the VPD to address complaints about officers and the procedures used to contact family members following an officer-involved shooting; then the attendees broke into smaller groups to discuss neighborhood problems.  These lines of communication are wonderful improvements over the VPD’s past reticence and should give the community greater confidence in the VPD.

 

Lt. Horton explained the different routes for lodging complaints, including going to the VPD lobby for complaint forms, calling the VPD, or going to the VPD website.  Investigations will be conducted and the complainant will be advised of the action taken, if any.


One thing that was not discussed was the relationship between young black men and police officers.  Berkeley professor John McWhorter, in his 2004 book, Authentically Black,asserted that efforts to reduce the high rates of crime and incarceration associated with young black men cannot succeed until the toxic relationship between this group and the police department is addressed.  To paraphrase the professor, “This toxic relationship is not one more thing; it is the thing.”  Both groups have reason to distrust the other.


I am not so naïve as to think this problem is fixed easily, but there may be steps that can be taken.  Some of these steps have been brought up before, e.g., police attending community events, hiring police who live in Vallejo, improving communications with VPD, and more.  One way to encourage cooperation is to establish a police presence in the community.  Walking a beat is probably not possible anymore, but regular cruise routes with stops for donuts, chats with citizens, and smiles can instill confidence.  I’ve read about officers being abused when visiting schools; kids can be downright disrespectful.  I don’t have the answer, but contact is essential to break down barriers and hostility.  Now it’s like we have two camps: The young black men and the police.


One thing that could help is more officers.  New York City had some success in reducing crime by flooding the streets with cops.  How’d they get more cops?  They reduced the number of arrestees going to jail.  Fewer inmates means less money needed to house and guard, leaving money for cops on the street.  We might consider that approach.

 

Note: All opinions expressed in the "Primal Scream" column are those of the writer and not necessarily those of the Vallejo Independent Bulletin