There's been a lot of talk in the news media about cops. The widespread belief in this country is that the Police view black folks as the enemy; that they too often profile; that they stop them more often, that they're more likely to use lethal force, and more likely to arrest and ultimately incarcerate blacks than whites. All of this is true to some degree, but as with any wide brush it belies the fact that there are many good cops who, when they take the oath to protect and serve, do so with a big heart and a desire to be fair and helpful. In my view, those cops need to be commended and promoted. The others, well, there's always security work at the mall on Staten Island.
So just as cops may internalize stereotypes about residents, so might we stereotype them. On some level we have to elevate the good and eliminate the bad. But we can't do without the police entirely. And so the Q would like to introduce you to two gentlemen who I believe have the neighborhood's well-being at heart - Officers Max Gardner and Sean Needham.
|Max & Sean
a) the new Community Policing effort is the baby of new NYPD Commissioner Jimmy O'Neil
b) the above guys are known as Neighborhood Coordination Officers, or NCO's
c) these guys cover Sector C (Charlie if you will) that means Ocean to NY Ave, Empire to Clarkson
d) they ACTUALLY read the 311 reports from the previous day, meaning your 311 calls do not go completely unnoticed, as you might have assumed
e) they tried giving out their cell phone #s but they're getting killed with texts, so please, email, and they promise to stay on top of them
f) they know a lot of the not-so-nice fellas on my block and nearby, by name, which made me feel better that they know their stuff
g) that most annoying drunk that hangs out on the stoop near Winthrop/Flatbush is named Roland
h) they're encouraged by command to get to know the community and attend any local functions, block association meetings, church shindigs, book groups what-have-you
i) they play a little hoops with the guys on Hawthorne
j) the Parkside Playground has quieted down a lot and it really is mostly about playing ball these days
k) there are pockets of gang members that they keep an eye on, but frankly there's only so much you can do without stepping over the line of good community policing
l) I offered, and they concurred, that we will not be able to stop every gang retaliation murder, but we have to stay open to new ways of preventing them
And that's where they won me over. They seem sincere about their desire to win our trust and work WITH us. But I gotta say that's going to be hard, and we all know it. They're going to have to be patient and tolerant of the anguish and resentment out there, because it's real, and it will fly in their face from time to time. On the other hand, it seems that they're off to a great start, and I'm a pretty good judge of character, and these guys are smart and sincere with a good sense of humor.
Let's give 'em a warm Sector C welcome, shall we?