Latest in a series of posts about the Bethlehem Police
Bud Hackett is a Bethlehem resident who raised 4 kids in the City. He recently became very interested in quality of life issues in the city and hopes to offer a balance to the approach City Council is taking.
Two weeks ago Bethlehem police Chief Mark DiLuzio resigned, with much pressure from the Mayor and City Council, after he posted something stupid on his Facebook page. He never should have posted an opinion on the optics of the National Basketball Associates (NBA) championship games. If you’ve watched the games, as I do, they’ve become become extremely political. OK, their right to do so.
Problem is Chief DiLuzio seemed to be a pretty good police leader. I’ve never met him but did observe him in the past month as he and his team responded to City Council’s anti-police questioning in a series of meetings, including the August 7 City Council Public Safety Committee public meeting.
For those not aware of the developments, Bethlehem City Council had drafted resolutions, inspired, and delivered by the self-proclaimed radical left, held hearings, and generally appeased those groups wanting to “defund the police” in Bethlehem. More on City Council’s “pandering” in subsequent posts.
In preparation for the August 7 Public Safety meeting, Chief DiLuzio was asked to prepare three reports to explain police activity in the City – lots of data, ie., facts, about every aspect of police activity. Most observers of the presentation, as well as many Council members, thought the report was pretty good. In my opinion “Council was looking for problem with the police, and not finding a problem” in the Police presentation of the data and three reports. I, for one, was happy to hear the presentations and felt our police are doing a pretty good job.
Chief DiLuzio made one of the most interesting comments of the 4-hour long meeting. In response to a comments/questions from Councilperson Mr. Reynolds, Chief DiLuzio departed from the prepared remarks and said something to the effect of “we need to look at the problems in a holistic way; economic conditions, health care, mental health issues, gangs, substance abuse – these are the underlying problems that cause people into actions that require police action” (not direct quote) . It was an “ad lib” comment from a 40-year police professional, someone who has probably “seen it all.”
DiLuzio showed an understanding of crime and bad behavior in the City that was truly insightful. A police leader with that kind of understanding is probably not the person you want to cancel. Yes, he is an older white male and that is not the profile of the politically correct looking police chief but that kind of insight and experience is a shame to dismiss.