Only in the Washington DC area would local government decide that the best way to solve a government created problem is to bring in more government.
That’s exactly what Sharon Bulova is doing in creating a toothless tiger-publicity stunt called the Police Commission which Bulova and the Board of Supervisors slapped together after the John Geer killing became yet another international black eye for Fairfax County. (Yep…the Geer killing made the news in Europe, Asia and Australia)
Sadly, the investigation into the killing began only after a United States Senator from a different state forced the Board of Supervisors County to investigate the killing…..and they did……they leaped into action by ASKING the cops if they would consider investigating themselves and then, essentially, apologized for asking.
In the real world when you don’t do your job you get fired. In the real world when you kill people, there’s an investigation. In the real world when a man dies, somebody pays hell….but not in Fairfax County where the politicians elected to serve and protect the people instead fear, protect and serve the cops and the cops kill innocent every twenty to twenty five months….and get away with it.
We need to start firing people and should start with the Board of Supervisors because we elect and pay the Supervisors to keep things in check and they haven’t done
that….repeatedly. Instead of governing correctly, when the arrogant occupation force that is the Fairfax County Police kills unarmed citizens, the Supervisors write a massive seven figure check from public and no one is fired and no one goes to jail. And now as the election grows closer and the bodies pile up, we suddenly have a massive police committee we don’t need that is empowered to do nothing.
To justify their needless committee the Supervisors claim they’re using the committee to examine use of force. Creating a panel on use-of-force by the Fairfax County Police isn’t needed largely because, although the problem exists, it just barely exists. The Fairfax County Police killing innocent and unarmed citizens is an anomaly and always will be. The department handles thousands of calls a year and rarely gets involved in gun play and when they do, it’s almost always the bad guys who start shooting first.
Factually, the Fairfax County Police are, comparative to other forces of the same size, a sparkling example of what urban policing should be. (To see a bad example of urban policing look at San Diego, San Jose, Baltimore, Cleveland and Chicago which will pay out HALF- BILLION this year in police brutality suits.
The Fairfax Police department seems to oversee itself well enough and when it doesn’t, it gets in trouble. (See the Polsi killings, the Sean Lanigan frame up, the Geer killing and the guy they shot to death for stealing a fake tree……yeah, that actually happened)
As for transparency, what freedom of information doesn’t get released, the courts will order released. The Geer case has proven that. And again, the Geer case is an abnormal occurrence in the day to day activity of the Fairfax County Police, which, for the most part, does a better than average job of staying in touch with citizenry.
The cop’s near artistic stonewalling is generally done in high profile court cases under the advice of legal counsel because it’s an ugly but legitimate legal tactic used regularly in the justice system and especially helpful when dealing with a department instead of an individual. We can’t take that ploy from the cops because I want the right to stonewall in court. I don’t want that taken away from me. We can’t have one set of laws for the cops and one for the rest of us. ……although, if you think about it, it’s sorta what we have now anyway isn’t it?
But overall, the cops don’t get away with much. It’s a fact in some part due to the power of the press. Most of the local media has done an admirable job reporting the recent abuses by the Fairfax County Police.
On that subject, there are also several members of the media on the Bulova’s idiotic committee ….well, one of them is an television news representative which is sort of like a news organization but with attention-deficit issues,….but anyway, is it ethical for members of the media to be part of a board like this?
If it isn’t ethical it’s certainly uncomfortable and a little dangerious too. Nobody wants the press having coffee and donuts with the cops on a committee formed to keep anything bad from happening to the cops…the only ones who benefit from stuff like that are the cops. Look, America doesn’t expect a damn thing out of the press except this; when the reporters show up, the politicians and bureaucrats should get nervous. As long as that happens, the free press is doing its job and right now, that doesn’t look like what’s happening here in Fairfax County.
There are 12 cops and/or retired cops on this useless committee. In fact, half of the committee, fifteen members, are presently employed by the Fairfax County government or retired from the Fairfax County government ……do really you think they’re going bite the hand that feeds them or change anything at all?
And look where this thing is going…..….I mean putting Hairy Raorererer-er-er on the committee? Wasn’t he one of the primary architects of the insular arrogance that has brought the Fairfax County Police to the wrong kind of international attention?
Come on people…..a vampire IS NOT going to solve a robbery at the blood bank.
Look, we DO have solvable problems within the Fairfax County Police Department but we DON’T have systematic problems within the Fairfax County Police Department. Corruption within the ranks is virtually none existent and always has been. Brutality against citizens, entrapment and theft…… although they no doubt happen…..are rare.
So why do we need….God help us…yet another powerless window dressing committee?
In a way it doesn’t really matter. This committee, whose true purpose is to save Sharon Bulova’s career, will rubber a stamp a lot of things, take photos, eat a lot of donuts at our expense and eventually disappear. A few months later a cop will gun down another unarmed citizen, the Board of Supervisors will cut another massive check to the family, we’ll make international news again and then the citizens will demand Police oversight. And while police oversight is a grand idea, factually it doesn’t work. Check the national stats. There are about 200 civilian oversight committees around the US. Most are a joke and many others have been disbanded because they are ineffective and highly politicized like this monster incubating in Fairfax County.
Police oversight simply hasn’t worked nor does helicopter-intrusive committee work either.
You know what does work?
Body cameras work.
They are the kryptonite of punk cops everywhere.
Put cameras on them and be done with it.
We need to do this….we need to force every hood on the force to wear a camera. It’s a simple choice that boils down to this; keep on dolling out multi-million dollar checks to the dead guys family or spend a hell of a lot less the money on body cameras.
The concept of body cameras is simple. Stop the cops from saying or doing something stupid BEFORE they do it.
Forming a committee to talk about what stupid things the cops did AFTER they did it is just dumb, well it’s government worker-think ,which I suppose is basically the same thing.
Body cameras will put a quick end to the arrogance killing by the Fairfax County cops and it will put even a quicker end to the common perception that the FCP is staffed by a bunch of lazy punks with an attitude problem.
As I said before, the other way to solve this issue is to fire the people who hire the cops, the “I wasn’t aware there was a police problem” members of the board of supervisors….like Sharon Bulova. The fact is that had the Board of Supervisors acted on the issue of the cops shooting unarmed citizens several years ago, this wouldn’t be a problem today.
Fire the people who hire the cops and watch how quickly things change.
Bring in competent leaders FROM OUTSIDE THE DC AREA to run the department.
We predicted several years ago that under chief what’s-his-face…the bald guy who loves wearing that ridicules hat, that nothing would change but we were wrong.
Things did change.
They got worse.
Bring in a new police chief and new public safety director from outside the Fairfax County government Lifers club.
Bring in a police chief from the outside who is honest and relentless in seeking true attitude change. Create an office of internal affairs whose goal is not to protect the police department at all costs…that’s what we have now…..but one that will protect both the police department from unreasonable complaints and protect the citizens from unreasonable policing practices.
When a complaint is filed against a cop the complaint should not be removed from the cops file after 60 days as it is now. Rather the complaint should stay there for the length of the cop’s employment with the county.
Do we really need the expense of a Royal Fairfax County Police Navy for the Potomac? How about the Royal Fairfax County Police Air Force? Which is better for the county…..more roads, less traffic, smaller class room sizes and more teachers or the cops having a fleet of helicopters and boats to toy around with?
Disempower. Do the cops really have to go around scanning thousands license plates? Cut back the cop’s remarkably generous budget of $217 million dollars. If we’re going to pay the cops that kind of money at least require them to get an AA degree in criminal Justice.
Transform the cops from an occupation force…….87% of the cops live outside the county, hence the punk attitude….and turn them into a local police force by forcing them to live in Fairfax County. It’s a good idea because when there’s a chance one of these punk cops could run into the civilians they smart-mouthed at the local Safeway, the transformation from thug to police officer will be swift. The excuse that cops can’t afford to live in Fairfax County is a bald faced lie.
Back to Bulova’s pointless committee.
Who are these civilians on the committee? Are they qualified to judge whether a cop followed a department's rules governing use of force? Do civilians have any training to understand what the cop faces? Do they have any real world insights into an Officers split-second decision involving life or death?
The answer is no. Only cops have that ability and there comes a time when we simply have to trust the police to police themselves. So let the cops watch over the cops and allow the judicial system, a free press and the unflinching eye of a body camera watch over everyone else. That will work. That will correct the problem.
What won’t work, what won’t correct the problem, are a group of publicity seeking panjandrums in need of an ego boast and well-meaning citizens poking around in complex area they don’t fully understand. Policing IS NOT a part time gig and while we need to keep an eye on the Fairfax County Police that doesn’t mean we need to create a pointless babysitting committee so Sharon Bulova can keep her job.