Posts tagged ‘public policy’

What Can We Learn From the Gates Case?

FF_raves_gates1_fNot only has the national media been a-buzz with stories relating to the arrest of Harvard Professor, Henry Louis Gates, but law enforcement agencies are also asking what they can learn from the situation.

In a recent story by NPR, police departments are divided over what lessons to walk away with. Joseph McMillan, outgoing head of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, thinks that police departments need to be learn more about resolving situation peacefully, deescalating not aggravating difficult confrontation.

On the other hand, many law enforcement agencies feel that the public needs to learn more about law enforcement. Dr. Joe Thomas Jr., police chief in Southfield, Michigan, says that the public needs to know that this is not an officer ego issue, but rather a public safety issue. Says Thomas, “There’s a certain amount of respect. There are certain things you don’t say to ministers; there are certain things you shouldn’t say to your mom, your dad, or the clergy. It’s how you talk to people that got responsibility and authority for controlling people, because if you disrespect them, you take away that authority and it hurts everybody.”

Clearly the lessons to be learned from this controversy are far from clear on both sides of the debate and between citizens and law enforcement officers.

What is your opinion? As community members, what are the lessons we can learn from this situation? Leave a comment.


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July 31, 2009 at 11:48 am Leave a comment

National Institute of Justice Examines Sex Offender Residency Restrictions

No doubt, sex offenders are among the most hated a feared criminals in society, so creating laws that restrict sex offenders from living with a certain distance of schools, playgrounds, parks, day care centers, etc., have been extremely popular and garner broad support across the nation. However, in a report issued by the National Institute of Justice, such laws can have unintended consequences.

Namely, because schools, parks, and other exclusion areas are spread throughout a city or town, many of the exclusion zones overlap, in some cases, covering almost the entire city and most of the available housing. This can create real problems. When sex offenders can’t legally find a place to live, they might go underground or become homeless and lose access to employment and mental health services.

In fact, just recently, NPR ran a story that covered Miami, Florida’s sex offender restriction laws. The restriction laws cover virtually the entire city, leaving the area around one bridge available for sex offender habitation. As a result a large, homeless sex offender community has grown up around the bridge, which isn’t healthy for the sex offenders, the community, or law enforcement.

Certainly, no one wants a sex offender living next door, but as more research is done into sex offender residency restriction laws, it might be helpful to modify these laws for the benefit of the community.

What do you think? Leave a comment.


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June 3, 2009 at 5:34 pm Leave a comment



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