Other aspects need to be explored

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Peter Crownfield is officially retired but spends most of his time working with students in his role as internship coordinator for the Alliance for Sustainable Communities–Lehigh Valley.

Gadfly:

I think the reporters did a very good job with this, although there are still some aspects that need to be explored, including:

• Chief DiLuzio’s justification for saying that an unredacted use-of-force policy put police officers or the public at risk — surely he must know that these are public in many cities throughout the US. [see useofforceproject.org] And he must realize that lack of transparency runs counter to some of the fundamental principles of a democratic society.

• Even where departmental policies are good, there have been many cases where individual police officers failed to follow them — and where fellow officers fail to intervene or even report them. (Sometimes, this seems to be based on a “thin blue line” mentality and/or knowing that it wouldn’t sit well with the higher-ranking officers.)

• The terms “reform” and “defunding” seem to be misused in many conversations. Reform focuses on immediate changes that can reduce the amount of violence and bias in police forces, while defunding involves reducing police budgets *so the funds can be used, through modalities other than policing, to prevent and reduce the conditions that contribute to crime. (For a better understanding of this, one good source is Josie Duffy Rice at the Justice Collaborative.)

I hope the reporters will follow up on this, but it’s even more important that the city council (and officials in other jurisdictions pursue these questions.

Peter

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