A Positive Cost Effective Method of Community Policing By Jean Rice Civil Rights Committee Leader at Picture The Homeless <img height="401" width="600" alt="" src="http://img42.imageshack.us/img42/390/3753367766efbafc05c2.jpg"
Somewhere in my distant past I recal a period of time when police officers in my Brooklyn community were mentors and role models. I recall being taught boxing basics by mentoring cops from the old 73rd Precinct in the mini-gym that was constructed at the rear of that precinct. If a kid like me showed any potential skills in the art of boxing, these cops took their private time to coach you, within the realm of the Police Athletic League. Kids could make it all the way to the city Golden Gloves' competition which gave us something positive to aspire to, it gave us a reason to hope.
During baseball season, some of these same cops would take us to the old Ebbets Field along with their family youth to watch the old Brooklyn Dogers. These were cops we got to know and whom we respected. Currently, cops come into my neighborhood as if they're on combat patrol. They deploy themselves in this manner and their demeanor is as if they are on some sort of hazordous duty. For the most part, their only interaction with my youth is as oppressors, wantonly violating their civil and constitutional rights at every given opportunity.
Even after reports by both the Knapp and Mollen Commissions on the police and civil disorders, police reform isn't forthcoming and the primary function of those who police my community is to supply bodies for New York States Criminal Justice Industrial Complex. High School drop-out rates, unemployment, homelessness and the 20 point gap between minority and white SAT scores are indeed contributing factors in this unsavory situation.
Since our communities youth are extremely at risk, and since no self-imposed Police Reform is forth coming, we at Picture the Homeless are instituting a community Cop-Watch Program in order to protect our communities constitutional rights, and to diminish wanton police misconduct, while saving future lives.
Our project should not be viewed as anti-police but as anti-misconduct and anti-illegal police behavior. The Picture the Homeless Civil Rights Committee will be attending community board meetings and inviting members of the CCRB (Civilian Complaint Review Board) to attend our meetings as we go about the business of learning how to draft sustainable complaints about police who act as if they are judicial officers or members of our legislatures. It is our hope that once a pattern and practice of abusive, illegal behavior is established, rogue cops will be reprimanded and placed on modified duty, hence removing these officers from the reach of our endangered youth.
Also at the City Council level, we at Picture the Homeless would like to see legislation passed that would render police officers personally liable for their illegal actions which fall way beyond their scope of duty and their sworn oath of office. We tax payers do not pay law enforcement officers to circumvent or violate our laws.
Accordingly, we tax payers should not continue to foot the bill for crimes committed by cops, under the Coloir of Law. At the City Council level, funding should be provided for the restoration of the old Police Athletic League, wherein inner city youth interact with cops, while being chaperoned by responsible members of our communities. Since police reform will not be rendered internally fromt the top down, we at PTH will be in the vangard of a grassroots mobilization to cause positive reform from the bottom up!
Respectfully, Jean Rice Picture the Homeless Civil Rights Committee