LONSBERRY: Accountability Board is an Insult to La'Ron and Lovely

It’s not that you can’t trust the police to police themselves, it’s that you can’t trust La’Ron Singletary and Lovely Warren to police them.

               That’s what City Council and the activists are saying.

               The call for a police accountability board is a direct challenge to the integrity and authority of the police chief and the mayor. If the current system – police discipline is in the hands of the police chief, who is supervised by the mayor – is untrustworthy, it means that Mayor Lovely Warren and incoming Rochester police Chief La’Ron Singletary are untrustworthy.

               Council and the ministers and the activists are not disrespecting the police department, they are disrespecting La’Ron Singletary and Lovely Warren.

               They are saying that the chief and the mayor are either incompetent or untrustworthy, and the power they hold to discipline police officers must be taken away and given to a police accountability board.

               That’s what this all really means. That’s the impact of it in the real world.

               The ministers and council members are running down the police department and its officers, but the people they are really insulting are the duly elected mayor and her choice to be police chief.

               So the issue isn’t, “Do you trust the police?” It is, “Do you trust the mayor?”

               And how dare these press-conference flamers and second-tier politicians say to Lovely Warren that she is wrong about the police accountability board and must have it take over a power and duty that she was elected to do? How is it right in the name of some anti-cop campaign to humiliate this strong black woman who has twice been elected by her neighbors to lead their city?

               And how is it right for City Council to take the son of Rochester that mayor has tapped to lead the police department and, before he’s even sworn in, take away the disciplinary power that every previous police chief has held?

               This isn’t a hypothetical, this is real. It’s not just any police chief or any mayor, it’s two specific individuals with records and broad community support.

               Pushing a police accountability board with the power to discipline and fire officers means that you don’t trust La’Ron Singletary to discipline the officers. Somehow, the fact this noble man has given all of his adult life to protecting the people of Rochester means that he can’t be trusted? It’s not some faceless chief you’re slandering, it’s La’Ron Singletary.

               And it’s Lovely Warren.

               Because if you say her chief can’t be trusted to have the final say on officer discipline, you’re saying that she can’t be trusted to supervise that police chief. You are insinuating that La’Ron Singletary lacks the integrity and honor to punish cops who deserve it, and you’re insinuating that Lovely Warren lacks the intelligence, ability or courage to correct him if he needs it.

               And both those assertions are bull crap.

               La’Ron Singletary is an honorable man and Lovely Warren is a strong leader.

               And they both are loved and trusted by large percentages of the people of the City of Rochester.

               And if City Council wants to push them aside, and disrespect their offices and disregard their advice, it ought to do so with full understanding of the disrespectful humiliation it would be forcing on La’Ron Singletary and Lovely Warren.

               Anti-cop activists rant that the police department must have civilian oversight.

               What they fail to acknowledge is that it already does. Our system recognizes the importance of independent supervision of the police. and provides it in the mayor and City Council.

               The mayor picks the police chief and is the police chief’s boss. The mayor can give the police chief orders, and the mayor can fire the police chief. The mayor is in charge.

               And that’s just as it should be.

               Further, she is backed up by the City Council which has some oversight and review responsibilities and approves the budget and other items for the police department, and which must confirm by vote her chief nominees, if they are to take office.

               The officers report to the chain of command, which reports to the chief, who reports to the mayor and council, who report to the voters. That’s the American way.

               And that’s a way that lets La’Ron Singletary be chief and Lovely Warren be mayor.

               Instead of flunkies to some unelected police accountability board.

               The Rochester Police Department already has one of the lowest rates of citizen complaint in the Northeast, and imposes some of the quickest and harshest punishment on officers who are found to have done wrong. That means the RPD has some of the best-trained officers in the region and some of the highest standards for dealing with the public.

               Which would seem to indicate the mayor knows what she is doing.

               And that an attack on the department is an attack on her. If it is corrupt, it means that she is incompetent.

               And she is not.

               The mayor has just nominated a chief who is loved and trusted by officers and community alike. Stripping him of powers held by all police chiefs is to put an asterisk next to his name, to defame him as a lesser chief. To say that he can’t be trusted.

               Which gets me back to where I started.

               Does the City Council really want to humiliate Lovely Warren and La’Ron Singletary?

               Do the ministers and the activists claim that Lovely Warren and La’Ron Singletary are sellouts and traitors who will side with crooked cops over the people of Rochester?

               That’s what a police accountability board unavoidably implies.

               And that’s bull crap.

               We already have civilian oversight – in the elected mayor and City Council.

               And we have a man of integrity in the chief’s chair.

               And the further pursuit of a police accountability board is an attack upon La’Ron Singletary and Lovely Warren.

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