Updated: Sep 6, 2021
Sunday Sermon*names have been changed*
Defund the police…You all realize Police Officers are not “drafted” this is a voluntary assignment. You take a test, a bunch of them and then go to academy and if successful you’re sworn in. So that means you better understand the assignment. Question? Does the police department have mental health wellness check ins? Not the required after sentinel events but maybe once a year you have to meet with a counselor for a period of time to decompress reprogram. Does the police department educate on implicit bias? How about teaching the Critical Race Theory (it’s taught in some law schools) Remember police are not judge and jury. And they don’t always STOP crimes. Usually called after the commission. Let the courts decide!
We don’t hate police officers, we hate the idea of supremacy amongst the police force. If cell phones and social media has done nothing, it has SHOWN the world what Black folks already knew, 911 ain’t our friend. I have friends who left the force because they couldn’t stand by and watch the disparity. They wouldn’t be apart of the “blue wall”.
Long gone are the days of the friendly neighborhood officer. The officer who lived next door. Jewett St had Officer “Friendly” and I lived next door to him and had a crush on his son, “Sam”. Unfortunately, tragedy struck that family twice; Officer Friendly committed murder/suicide and years later his son Sam was found at the Foot of Ferry. Rumor has it the underlying causes was mental illness. However, that doesn’t change the fact that Officer “Friendly” actually lived next door! It was because of Officer Friendly I had my first ride in a police car, sirens blaring and I remember smiling, laughing, and thinking how cool I was. I wasn’t so cool years later my next ride included bracelets and a mug shot! 😞
Today officers don’t even want to live in the city. And who can blame them? What’s the incentive? Are there grants for affordable decent housing? Then there’s the perception that “defund the police” equates to not wanting the police in our community. We NEED good police officers we need officers who aren’t enshrined in the old guard of “corralling the runaways”. Remember “policing” was originally slave patrols that evolved into “keeping Negros in line” once we were “freed”.
Until the fundamental principles of the police department is reconstructed and defunded,
there will always be mistrust. The visual of “Officer Friendly” is a complicated, distorted one for city dwellers. Complicated because we NEED good policing. We need officers who KNOW the people in the community, no matter where they fall on the hierarchy of “worth”. Yes, the police should know the addicts, the hustlers, the sex workers, those who thrive on secondary incomes; our hair stylist, kitchen cutters (barbers), the foster home parents, the hospital workers, the bankers, our local supermarket workers et al.
Because everyone isn’t violent, trying to get over, or liars. We city dwellers deserve the benefit of the doubt. Oh by the way, white folks live in the city too. People live where the want and it shouldn’t be a determinant as to their value. We know what suburbs, gentrification, white flight, red-lining did to those “undesirables”.
Defund: perhaps the wrong word;
reallocate, expand. However DEFUND got your attention, when all the other cute wrappings did not. Whatever. Just make it better than what we have. Give us mental health counselors, social services. We don’t need over-policing. We don’t need a bag of good apples shiny and crisp that hides the funky cores of others, it makes the entire bag worthless, throw it out and start again. However we still have to work with what we have. I know that if needed too, I will call the police perhaps with some hesitation and trepidation. But I’m a tax payer who happens to be black and yes my life matters, the Officer in the photo below knows it too. And her life matters to me.
So no, this city dweller and Black Lives Matter believer doesn’t “hate” the “PO-PO”, one-time because I love this Black and female police officer deeply. And I love my community deeply. And my community is the ENTIRE city of Buffalo. Not this segregated East South West North side. I love this colorful, vibrant, eclectic hub. Even if ranked the 4th most racist city in the United States.
And I want the people that are sworn to serve and protect to love us too. The good, the bad, but not the ugly (molesters, beaters) that’s going to too far. What we don’t need are scared trigger happy racist who don’t know trust or believe in the community where they work. OFFICER TOMMY NORMAN is a good way to start
and with several shots fired isn’t always how it has to end.