Solutions from the Commonwealth

Any substantive change must come from us, not them.  How to get there is the question.  And there are lots of conversations and discussions taking place on that regard.  This is one view from the commonwealth…



The murder of George Floyd and the onset of the Corona-virus afford a unique opportunity for the Black Lives Matter movement to achieve its goal of police reform. The casual heartlessness of the murder of George Floyd galvanized the attention of the world by its blatant disregard of Floyd as a human being. That act coupled with the onslaught of the Corona-virus presents a unique opportunity to force police reform that may never come again. His death demonstrated how the black community is policed and what black people endure at the hands of the police. The virus forced school and job closings creating the perfect opportunity for people to pay attention to how the policing of minority communities was done and gave them time to protest. This opportunity must not be missed. I believe that the following steps will deliver the reform that everyone demand.

  1. The first step in this process has to be the naming of a civilian as the police commissioner. The goal of this change is the removal of policing from the control of the police the FOP, the PBA, and the politicians.

2. The commissioner, although appointed by the Mayor and approved by the council, must be as apolitical as this process can provide.

3. The commissioner’s office must carry out the administrative functions of the police department. Including developing the policy and procedures used to perform the function of policing

4. The commissioner’s office must negotiate the union contracts and carry out their day to day operations.

5. The commissioner should investigate all violations of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and all complaints of the police by having civilian investigator to investigate the complaints and the legal department necessary to pursue legal                     action.

6. All Complaints against police must be investigated with full transparency.

The implementation of the steps outlined above would provide the structure necessary to begin to reform policing in not just the minority community but the country. With this structure in place the commissioner could begin a review of police policy and procedures and eliminate the ones that result in the murder of American citizens without redress. One such rule is ” I was afraid for my life” I find this especially ironic since soldiers in Vietnam where not allowed to indiscriminately kill occupants of a village even if they felt strongly that they were “VC” and would dig up their weapons after they pass and try to kill them. This rule worked in a war zone but I am to belief it justifies the killing of unarmed people in the “world” and results in acquittal when prosecuted. The commissioner could also purge the department of police who have habitually shown that they are not suited to “Protect and Serve” the communities they work in by their records.

These are a few of the many reforms that are needed to reform policing not only in minority communities but throughout the country and only address the responsible of the police . Real reform however, must include the community. The community is responsible for law and order. It cannot be achieved without their involvement. They must realize that the police are an aid to help them have a safe community to live in but cannot provide it alone.

Social workers, community organizers must come forward and assist in the implementation of reform that is necessary to achieve real reform.

Finally, the movement must not allow the bureaucracy to use rope a dope to maintain the status quo.  I recommend that it focus its attention in one location and through civil protest not ask but demand reform. This must be done now before normalcy imposes itself and people become occupied with daily life.

Herman Fisher

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Filed under Commentary, Opinion, Politics and Government, Race, Uncategorized

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