We should have police oversight and oversight of the police should include citizens, but it should also include members of the police force and members of the county government and representatives of the business community, the mental health community, youth (Cops the world over like to push around kids, so kids need voice) as well as a representative of the Asian community and one representative of the NAACP. That mix would make for a balanced and fair approach of examining accusations of police abuse.
Let the county or even better, let the state appoint a police oversight committee made up of members of the police force, the county government, citizens and the business community.
Tossing a bunch of angry, power hungry people into the mix will just make things worse. They can’t see past their anger. As an example, the people who want police oversight…each of whom very much has an axe to grind and then land on a cops head, say that the police inadequately investigated officer shootings of unarmed suspects so we need a citizen run…and only citizen run…oversight arm.
No one, except this group, ever accused the cops of not adequately investigated officer shootings of unarmed suspects. What the cops are accused of was not releasing the results of their investigations to the public. And as a result we paid millions for their “Us-them” paranoid mentality. And that’s the crux of this problem; secrecy by the police, paranoia by the police and a large, oh so very large dose of arrogance.
The group is upset that the county had to pay out $3.5 million in blunder money and yes, there are other things that money could be used for, but actually the amounts of hush money the Fairfax County cops pay out to their victims is about the same as other like sized departments in the US. It doesn’t make it right but it places it in perspective. But the money isn’t the issue. The issue is that the cop’s blunder and we get them out of hock with our checks and no one….at least until now…..gets fired. And the fact that the police fired that guy is a sign of hope for a better future.
Recently Chief Rohrer said that the police department’s Internal Affairs Bureau and division commanders review hundreds of complaints, from internal and external sources every year. In the last five year, there were about 550 to 600 administrative reviews per year, of which about 17 percent of which came from outside of the department. Some cases were very serious, but most involved minor issues. In all, about 39% of the violation case load was sustained as a breach.
Now how hard was that?
Nobody died as a result of knowing that the police are policing the police. The sun will, in fact, rise tomorrow, Sharon Bulova is still out looking to turna buck and Chief Rohrer will still looks like a shorter version of the lead singer from Queen and/or anyone of the members of the Village People.
Nothing bad has happened as a result of the police explaining themselves to the people who pay them and pay them very, very well.
This new track of openness (the above numbers) and fairness, (firing the gunman who killed Masters) could, if the chief stays on it, be the start of turning things around and filtering out the thug element within the ranks.
The numbers that the chief throws around probably aren’t any better or any worse than any other police department of the same size and, as Queen-Rohrer lisped “Complaints are filed against [police officers]. It is just the nature of the profession. “Some of them are valid … some of them are frivolous.”
Agreed. But let’s see what this guy is really made of, and here’s the challenge….keep the derogatory information in the cop’s file and don’t toss it out after 90 days so the clown in question gets a new start with every complaint and keeps abusing their power over and over again.
But, sadly, Chief Rohrer is a company man and he’ll probably do what is in the best interest of his pension and not in the best interest of the people. If we’re wrong, then keep the complaints against cops in their files. If we’re right, then, again, we call for the chief to be replaced by someone from outside Virginia or at the very least, not a good ole Dixie boy who was born and bred within the department.
The chief also said that he supports random audits of the Internal Affairs AKA Self-Protection Department “I want to know how we’re doing and how we can do better,” he said.
Okay…here’s what you can do better. Stop keeping secrets from the people who pay you, don’t offer to help because if we need you we’ll call you and keep derogatory information in the cops file and don’t toss it out after 90 days.
The other good news is that the supervisors reviewed the issue of police violence and arrogance means government works. The fact that they forced an auditor into the department means government works. The fact that Quick-Draw McCop who gunned down Mr. Masters has been fired means that the police might finally get it, and if they do, it means government works. Government works, but it works slowly.
To say that “only a group of citizens can exercise the necessary independence and command the necessary respect to perform this oversight job in a meaningful way” is incorrect. We should trust our elected leaders, even questionable ones like Sharon “Show me the Money” Bulova, to act with prudence and that’s what they’ve done. Okay, maybe not Bulova, but, you know what I mean.
Yes, it’s true that the county auditor that the county supervisors send in to check in on the county police is a joke, but let’s let it play out because when we give these government workers enough rope they'll hang themselves so let it play out. When government oversight of itself…..…which is what we are about to get with an auditor…..fails, and it will fail, then there will be no more excuses not to put in true police oversight then a solid case, without excuses, can be made to bring about real change by introducing a police oversight committee staffed by citizens who aren’t out for blood, as well as others who can examine the facts in a cool, professional manner.