A cop got killed, and we didn’t fight for Hudson Avenue.
Three kids got gunned down, and we didn’t fight for Genesee Street.
A couple of meaningless vigils, any number of histrionic quotes for the evening news, and then an immediate return to business as usual. Which is – the thugs run the streets, and the cops string the police tape.
In the end, we aren’t condemned for what we can’t do, we are condemned for what we don’t do.
And what the Rochester Police Department doesn’t do is its job.
That’s not the fault of the officers on the streets, that’s the fault of the mayor and her compliant chief. It has become a department of passivity so intent on respecting “the community” that it has none for itself.
That was demonstrated in a video posted on Twitter yesterday which showed a senior Rochester police sergeant – a member of the chief’s staff – standing doing nothing while a group of young women climbed on a blue-and-white police cruiser, dancing on it and simulating copulation with it.
It was the same sort of police cruiser that took a mortally wounded Officer Daryl Pierson to the hospital, and the same sort of police cruiser that signifies and projects the protective power and sacred duty of the Rochester Police Department.
And a sergeant who writes policy for the department stood there with his thumb up his ass.
Just as, metaphorically speaking, the police department stood there with its thumb up its ass when one of its own was killed on Hudson Avenue. There was a massive funeral, and somber voices all around, but the real-world control of Hudson Avenue remained firmly in the hands of the dealers and the dopers. Though the police chief said there would be an enforcement push to bring order to the street, it never happened. Nothing changed. The RPD didn’t have the balls to fight back.
Just like on Genesee Street.
As a crowd of young people emptied into the lot in front of the Boys and Girls Club after a community basketball game, a drive by put five of them down and three of them in their graves. It was horrific and heartbreaking, a milestone of evil audacity that had people crying, “Enough is enough!”
But nothing happened.
Politicians and activists milked it for as much publicity and grant money as they could, but that was it.
The police department did nothing discernible to proactively confront the baseline criminal activity that defines Genesee Street.
And last Wednesday, just a few blocks up the street – across from another high school – another drive by and four young men go down. They survived, but only because they and the mayor’s re-election prospects got lucky.
And the ownership of the street was confirmed – it’s not the Rochester Police Department, it’s the Rochester criminal element.
And it holds good people hostage all across the northeast and southwest portions of the city. Mothers and fathers fear for their children’s safety, and the anxiety of impending danger wears in every conceivable way.
And for three years it’s hard to see any police initiative to relieve that reality. It’s like the cavalry never comes over the hill, or if it does, it charges right by, without stopping to fight. For three years, the police department seems to have been focused on bending over and grabbing its ankles, kowtowing to whatever activist or agenda wants to spit on it.
It was new patrol sections because the cops don’t know the neighborhoods. It was body cameras because the cops are killing people. It was more community oversight because the cops can’t be trusted.
The basic premise of the department has been that it is wrong and needs to apologize.
Which is fine, if it’s true. But it’s not, if it’s not.
And it’s not.
The Rochester Police Department is a noble agency whose officers are among the best in their profession. The Rochester Police Department is arguably the greatest asset the city of Rochester has.
But it’s been castrated by three years of WTF leadership.
Three years of being scapegoated for collapsing neighborhoods, and vilified by self-aggrandizing politicians and activists.
That would be just one more laughable example of stupid leadership from stupid leaders, if the consequences weren’t so high. But they are high. On Hudson Avenue, the street-side shrines have continued to proliferate, and on Genesee Street it’s just a matter of time until the next drive by.
And just yesterday, a fleeing 16-year-old – a product of the piss-on-the-cops era – popped off a couple of rounds at a Rochester officer who was chasing him.
But they don’t always miss.
The luck doesn’t always hold.
And disrespect for this department may yet carve another Rochester name on the police memorial.
It’s time to regain community respect – not by obsequiousness, but by strength. It’s time to give the people of Rochester the protection they deserve.
It’s time to man up.
It’s time to be cops.