A Letter from RP’s Managing Director
To Our Readers,
Little has changed since my last administrative update on August 30. While the volume on defunding and eliminating the police has been toned down a notch, violent riots are now characterized as “mostly peaceful protests” and defund and eliminate the police has become “reimagine public safety,” but anti-police advocates are still planning their strategies. However, they’ve realized, with elections a short time away, law and order has become a popular topic with the voters. It’s important that everyone who is concerned about the future of law enforcement and the safety of their communities choose politicians, from town managers and selectmen, city mayors and councilors, prosecutors and judges to Congress and the President of the U.S. ,who will support a strong and effective criminal justice system.
In the meantime, efforts should be underway to address the issues in law enforcement that have been identified as needing change. A good place to start would be to develop a formula for a policing strategy that will work in most neighborhoods and communities. Several models have been proposed and tried with low levels of success. I will discuss this topic in detail on this site shortly.
A difficult problem facing law enforcement in these times of crises will be the necessity to stand up to the critics and violence advocates and re-establish trust and credibility with the communities that we serve. Progress on this front will be necessary before many communities will be receptive to law enforcement intervention.
While I was teaching at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire I had the good fortune to be invited to Michigan State University to meet with Professor Robert Trojanowicz and his assistant, Bonnie Bucqueroux (pronounced Buckaroo) and to speak to his classes. Professor Trojanowicz had written “Community Policing: Getting Started” and had founded The National Center for Community Policing at MSU. I had been conducting research on rural policing strategies for my doctoral dissertation. We kept in touch and continued to discuss the concept of Community Policing until his untimely death at age 52.
During the summer break after my first year of college teaching, I retreated to my cabin on Hart Lake in northern Wisconsin to continue work on my doctorate. I had purchased the cabin during the years that I worked for the FBI in Chicago.
On a Friday evening I was having dinner at a rustic restaurant, the traditional North Country fish fry, when a man came in alone and sat next to me at the bar. He said his name was George and after I introduced myself he asked if I was from Boston. My accent gave me away. George’s son, Pierre, I learned, owned the restaurant and George had a camp on nearby Stormy Lake. Then I learned that George was none other than George Kelling, a Criminal Justice professor at Northeastern University and a fellow at the Manhattan Institute and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. George Kelling, along with James Q. Wilson, wrote “Broken Windows: The Police and Neighborhood Safety” that became known as the Broken Windows model of policing. I still can’t imagine the odds of meeting George Kelling in the middle of a sparsely populated wilderness 1350 miles from Boston! We spent much time together that summer writing and reading each other’s manuscripts and barbecuing burgers and steaks.
Neither Professor Kelling nor Professor Trojanowicz believed that they had discovered the holy grail of policing strategies. Since Community Policing and Broken Windows several philosophies, tactics and strategies have been tried to resolve the issue of police/community relations. There is still much work that must be done and I will address this topic in more detail in the near future.
Several law enforcement officers and retired officers have reached out to us with comments and articles. Some have requested anonymity and that condition has been respected.
Be strong and be safe,