Major Ben's articles

Below is a list of articles by Major Ben Brooks that have appeared in the Times Herald.

 

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Police and Community Partnering

By Major Ben Brooks

Like many of you, I have been very disturbed about the sharp rise in the murder rate in our cities. The police as well as the general public have expressed outrage, and rightfully so. From the lack of sufficient manpower on the streets to the reticence of the public to become involved, we are in a crisis.

Many agencies and community groups are desperately trying to come up with answers.  The most frequent refrain from the community is why aren’t the police doing more to curb crime before it occurs and why aren’t they doing more to catch the crooks and prosecute those who are eventually apprehended? That seems like a valid inquiry.  However, one piece of the puzzle is missing—public participation.

Many in the community express morbid fear at providing information about the shenanigans of those who prey on the innocent victims within their communities. Such fears are very well grounded in the notion that retribution is a stark reality. It is a known fact on the streets that the police are not able to protect everyone from the clutches of those who are bent on lawlessness.

So what is the answer? Thankfully, the police in many cities are responding to the public display of CDs and T-shirts that exhort the young people to not snitch to the police. In Baltimore, for example, the police were instrumental in identifying the producer of some of the CDs and made some arrests. That helps to address one aspect of the problem, but the bigger question is how are we addressing the climate that produced the behavior that gave rise to such negative messages in the first place.

Help is on the way, thanks to Alfred W. Dean Jr., who heads the Pennsylvania Regional Policing Institute in Allentown. The institute offers courses in Community-Oriented Policing, an old concept that attempts to bring the police and the community together. Police do not solve crimes alone. To succeed, they must rely on members of the community.

If we are to make significant progress in fighting crime, law enforcement must use every available resource within the community. The institute can help. In addition to Police and Community Partnering, the institute has courses available on such topics as COPS in School, Domestic Violence, and Ethics in Law Enforcement. Chiefs of police would be wise to take advantage of these programs to help bridge the chasm that exists between the police and community.

Many of the resources that law enforcement needs are within your reach. Are you willing to make the effort? It takes all of us to succeed.  If we continue to do things the way we have always done them, the result will always be the same. It is time for a change. It is time for the community and police to join forces to fight crime and end this crisis.

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