Do not handcuff our police force


No one in Las Vegas has suffered discrimination at the hands of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department more than this newspaper; no one has experienced police abuse and police brutality more than we have at the Las Vegas Tribune.
And all that with the silent approval of the local media under the direction of the police administration that does not allow the local media to speak up and cowardly keeps their silent acceptance.
However, we have high respect for the rank and file of our police department and do understand that their job is getting more risky and more dangerous with time.
Cutting the police power is not the solution to the problems we are all facing nowadays, where the police rank and file are underestimated on a daily basis by those sitting in the Ivory Tower of the police administration headquarters on Alta and Martin Luther King Boulevard.
The right thing to do is giving the police the backing they need and the assurance that the administration will cover their backs. Playing politics with the lives of the police officers covering the streets of our city is not the solution; perhaps the officers need a little longer police academy time and/or better training.
Yes, of course we are going to encounter some bad apples; it happens in any and every organization of any size and Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is not an exception.
The morale of the Las Vegas Police Department is at the bottom of any scale and that is because the men and women of the department are very well aware that the administration does not care one bit about them; after all, they are not the ones who are taking a chance every time they make a traffic stop or check the identity of someone walking on the streets of our city.
Answering a domestic violence call is getting to be one of the most dangerous calls an officer can make, perhaps even more dangerous than responding to a bank robbery.
The day we all learn to respect police authority and forget about what is right and what is not, keeping in mind that arguing the constitutionally of any law should be in a courtroom and not on the streets where a police officer is more likely concerned about his safety than the Constitution, we’ll all be better off.
Besides, the Constitution doesn’t mean too much nowadays where the majority of the courts are closed and judges might be in “quarantine” at the golf course.
Leslie Turner, an organizer for the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada’s Mass Liberation Project, said, “There is a difference between changing policies and reforming policing.
“As we often do in this country, we are addressing the symptoms and not the root cause,” she said. “We are essentially triaging police violence versus actually looking at the system of policing and really dismantling that and building something new.
“We’ve been talking about diversity in hiring, cultural competency training, multicultural awareness and implicit bias training for decades and clearly they are not working because we are still having the same conversations about police violence,” Turner added. “I think we need to start being a little more radical in how we view the purpose of policing and looking at what’s happening in communities [that are] requiring the police and how we address those problems.”
But these problems are not easy to manage because first the police administration needs to respect and appreciate the work the rank and file performs so the rank and file are able to respect and appreciate the community as a whole.
This is a two-way street and we have to learn to meet each other halfway; there is no need to have a very jealous police officer, B. Foster, badge number 16314, using the manpower of four police cars with lights on and guns drawn, just because he is afraid to stop a single senior citizen in front of his office.
It is not fair that people who do not agree with, support or endorse a sheriff candidate could not have the benefit of police response when their life’s in jeopardy.
It is not fair that the downtown area command ignores 311 or 911 calls from this newspaper just because the Captain in charge is friends with the one woman that is in charge of the public relations unit that this newspaper has criticized on many occasions.
All that placed on the scale of fairness cannot replace or offset the good job our police force is doing, mainly in patrolling our streets and keeping us safe and protected, and for that we do not believe that the hands of our police officers should be handcuffed, risking our safety and jeopardizing the lives of those officers.

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