Monday, May 18, 2015

Transforming American Policing: A Defining Moment

American policing is now at a defining moment and the eyes of the world are upon us.

It would be naïve, irresponsible, and disingenuous to portray policing in America as infallable especially due to recent police-community division in places including Staten Island, in Baltimore, Ferguson, Cleveland, and North Charleston.

But while these issues demand transparency, dialogue, and resolve, we must take time to appreciate dedicated police officers. Our police are community members, and in collaboration with law-abiding citizens, critical to security and safety.

Amtrak Derailment Disaster

The heroic response of police along with first responders to the Amtrak disaster is an inspiring testimony of courage, compassion, and character.

As people screamed for help from the chaotic train derailment that claimed eight lives and injured over 200 in Philadelphia on May 12, the bravery of police and first responders was inspirational.

They cut through fences in the dark of night, entered decimated train cars to assist hundreds of passengers with first-aid, evacuations, and administering tourniquets.

It’s My Job

One heroic response included Lyndhurst, New Jersey off-duty Officer Michael Keane who was a passenger. Ironically, Keane was heading home from the 300-mile bicycle Police Unity Tour during National Police Week in Washington, DC honoring fallen officers.

Steven Pissamano, the father of another Lyndhurst cop, also on the train returning from the same event stated “I want to tell [Keane] thank you. He saved our lives and he saved many other people’s lives, disregarding his own, because he went back into that train and started helping people.”

Humbly evading praise, Officer Keane simply stated, “It’s my job, that’s what I was put on this planet to do.”

Although the derailment will be a flashpoint on America’s need for enhancing infrastructure, one issue is irrefutable, appreciating those who protect and serve, individuals who risk their lives for us.

Camden Progress: Community Policing Model

On Monday, May 18, President Obama praised positive developments taken place in Camden, New Jersey through community policing initiatives.

Although just a few years ago, Camden was considered dangerous beyond redemption according to the President. Yet, the city is now a model of transformation due to the courage, compassion, and caring of their police.

Community policing initiatives in Camden have included doubling the size of its police force and cutting desk jobs so officers can be more involved with the community, especially with students. Police officers set up basketball games, volunteer in schools, and assist with reading programs.

Although, the city is a work in progress and issues beyond policing such as poverty, unemployment, broken families, race, drug abuse, health, and education need attention, community policing has had positive results including the following:

•Violent crime is down 24%
•Murders are down 47%
•Open-air drug markets are down 65%
•911 response calls have been reduced from 1 hour to 5 minutes

Final Reflections

It is a defining moment for policing in America.

Changes are rapidly taking place and community policing is the heart of this transformation.

Along with numerous policing changes, the White House by executive order, will also ban local police departments from acquiring some types of military-style equipment from federal agencies. These include tracked armored vehicles, weaponized aircraft, grenade launchers, certain high-caliber weapons, bayonets, and ammunition of .50 caliber, or higher.

The concern, as witnessed in Ferguson, is the potentially negative impact on police-community relations, if such equipment is used without proper training, arbitrarily, or inappropriately.

In my opinion, the equipment issue needs discerning dialogue as these are violent times. Law enforcement needs not only community policing, but every tool and unit necessary to protect themselves and society.

Also, the “Final Report Of The President’s Task Force On 21st Century Policing” was released on May 18. It highlights pillars of building trust, fostering collaboration, technology-based community engagement, community policing, leadership training, as well as officer wellness and safety.

The report is a must read for all concerned with police-community relations as it is filled with recommendations to make America safer.

Undeniably, these are challenging times for American policing igniting a defining moment for transformative community policing initiatives as the heart of reawakening the nation.

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As authored for Vincent’s weekly column titled “Reawakening the Nation” for the Epoch Times, 35 countries, 21 languages and growing.

1. Community Policing Officer Jackelyn Burgos with Cleveland Public School children at conclusion of G.R.E.A.T. program (Photo Credit Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Police Department)
2. Camden County, New Jersey Police Officer with youth. (Courtesy COPS / USDOJ)
3. Cover Photo “Final Report Of The President’s Task Force On 21st Century Policing”

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Police-Community Division: America Unite

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation designating May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which it falls as National Police Week.

This week, between 25,000-40,000 law enforcement officers and supporters from throughout the world converge on Washington, DC to participate in events honoring colleagues who have offered the ultimate sacrifice.

Events will include a candlelight vigil and The National Peace Officer Memorial Service on the West Front of the United States Capital. These are sponsored by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and Concerns of Police Survivors to help families and co-workers deal with grief, coping, and rebuilding lives.

The May 15 Memorial Service began with about 120 survivors and supporters of law enforcement. Now, it attracts tens of thousands from police departments nationwide and internationally as well.

National Police Week is an outstanding police-community alliance, symbolizing a unity needed for America now more than ever.

FBI Releases Preliminary Statistics

Coinciding with National Police Week, the FBI released “2014 Preliminary Statistics for Law Enforcement Officers Killed in the Line of Duty” on May 11, 2015.

These statistics paint an alarming picture of the dangers law enforcement officers encounter as they protect and serve our communities.

The report shows that 51 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty in 2014. This is a staggering increase of almost 89 percent when compared to the 27 officers killed in 2013.

Additional details of the FBI statistics include the following:

•Eleven officers died from injuries inflicted as a result of answering disturbance calls, of which is included domestic disturbance
•Ten officers were killed while conducting traffic stops
•Eight were killed as a result of ambushes of which six fatalities were due to entrapment or premeditated situations and two due to unprovoked attacks
•Six officers were investigating suspicious persons or circumstances
•Five officers sustained fatal injuries while performing investigations
•Four were involved with tactical situations
•Three were involved with mental illness incidents
•One was killed on a drug-related matter and three others were killed attempting to make arrests

America’s law enforcement officers are in a dangerous and often thankless profession and the fatalities continue as witnessed with the recent reprehensible killings of NYPD Officer Brian Moore, 25, and Hattiesburg, Mississippi Officers Benjamin Deen, 34, and Liquori Tate, 24.

Building Police-Community Bridges

Tragically, America is experiencing a time of intense distrust between citizens and police due to incidents that have included Staten Island, in Baltimore, Cleveland, Ferguson, and North Charleston.

But we are all in this together. As outlined in my “Principles of American Policing,” a unity of effort is the only way as “being pro-police and pro-community are inseparable, indefatigable, and pre-eminent. Police must at all times remain fully committed to protecting and serving the public through character, ethics, and leadership. Police must be guided by a moral compass that honors the community, Constitution, and Bill of Rights.”

Yet, the word community must also be interchanged with the word police. Every community member also has responsibilities, duties, and obligations. Citizens must also live by a moral compass, code of ethics, and be law-abiding, respectful, and responsible.

Final Reflections

Community members have the right to expect police officers to be models of courtesy, professionalism, and respect. But police officers have the right to also expect citizens to be the same.

America is experiencing a culture of violence with both police officers and citizens experiencing senseless fatalities. Our police and citizens must build bridges as we are mission-critical partners in safeguarding the nation and protecting our communities.

American police officers: Stand tall and proud, and honor your noble profession with a heart of respect and unwavering dedication to protect and serve your communities.

American citizens: Build bridges with your police. Appreciate their efforts to protect your communities. Be fully dedicated to a unity of effort so that our neighborhoods have the security and safety they deserve.

Finally, only when law enforcement and citizens unite will we inspire our youth through school initiatives and truly ignite the fire of reawakening the nation.

Note Well
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As authored for Vincent’s weekly column titled “Reawakening the Nation” for the Epoch Times, 35 countries, 21 languages and growing.

1. NYPD Community Affairs with youth, June 25, 2014. (Courtesy NYPD)
2. NYPD Officer Brian Moore tribute. (Courtesy NYPD)
3. Bureau of Portland Police Sgt. with citizen. (Photo Credit Johnny Huu Nguyen/Associated Press)
4. NYPD Officers in Times Square, Dec. 10, 2014. (Vincent J. Bove)

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Sunday, May 10, 2015

V-E Day: Courage, Honor, Sacrifice

As the world commemorates V-E Day (Victory in Europe Day) on May 8, we must pause and be eternally grateful for the courage, honor, and sacrifices that gave us freedom.

Honoring American Sacrifices

The World War II memorial in our nation's capital honors more than 16 million who served in the Armed Forces during the war, the more than 400,000 who died, and the millions who supported the war effort from the home front.

World War II is understood by many Americans to be the defining event of the 20th century and a decisive time in the history of civilization, therefore the memorial, opened to the public on April 29, 2004 honors the courage, commitment, and cohesiveness of the American people in defending not only our nation but peace, freedom, and liberty from tyranny throughout the world.

The World War II memorial stands as a symbol of the power of America when unity, moral strength, and freedom bond together to serve a just cause. President Franklin D. Roosevelt captured this spirit of America by stating,
"To cope with present dangers, the nation requires a toughness of moral and physical fiber, precisely the characteristics of a free people, a people devoted to the institutions they themselves have built."

FDR was able to rally American's around the flag and to inspire in them a deeply profound devotion to their nation.

The World War II memorial became part of the National Park System on November 1, 2004. Previously, it was part of the American Battle Monuments Commission which operates 24 permanent U.S. cemeteries and 25 memorial structures in 15 countries throughout the world.

Times Square celebration on V-E Day, May 8, 1945. (Photo Credit: Corbis)

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Tuesday, May 05, 2015

NYPD Officer Brian Moore: American Hero

Tragically, flags fly at half-staff once again in New York City, this time to honor the passing of NYPD Officer Brian Moore, an American hero.

All of New York City must mourn, along with Officer Moore’s family, the NYPD, law enforcement brothers and sisters everywhere, and all who love America. The flags that fly at half-staff must be present in our hearts and souls.

Sentiments of devotion including cards, candles, and flowers are being left to honor Officer Brian Moore at the 105th Precinct where mourning bunting solemnly hangs at the entrance. The flame from each candle must ignite compassion in our hearts and inspire us to pause, reflect, and pray.

Another tragic death of a police officer must not be in vain, but serve as a clarion call not only to all New Yorkers but all Americans. America must appreciate the service of dedicated men and women protecting our communities in a dangerous profession deserving of honor.

These are challenging times, as we see unfold a culture of violence compounded by contemptuous anti-police sentiments. America’s police are guardians of safety and the lifelines of security in our communities. Respect, courtesy, and appreciation for all who protect and serve must be enhanced.

America’s Great Loss

Unfortunately, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton is becoming all too familiar with officers making the ultimate sacrifice.

Bratton described Officer Moore as “an extraordinary young man…a great loss to his family, a great loss to his department, a great loss to this profession, and a great loss to this city.”

Complementing the eloquence, respect and compassion of Commissioner Bratton, the courage, honor, and service of this fine young officer represents the best of our country and is also a great loss to America.

Hero NYPD Officer Brian Moore

Officer Brian Moore was 25 years old and appointed as an NYPD officer in July, 2010. He was a lifelong resident of the Massapequa, Long Island, community.

Both his father and uncle were retired NYPD sergeants and he has a cousin also on the force.

Moore was an exceptional professional with a promising career. Although an officer for less than 5 years, Officer Moore had over 150 arrests and received numerous service awards.

His death comes just months after the deaths of NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos. These men, along with Officer Moore, are also heroes lost too soon while protecting and serving the people of New York City.

Appreciating Our Police

The challenges for those safeguarding America’s communities through law enforcement are very arduous and deserve the appreciation of all who benefit from their sacrifices.

Every citizen should be truly grateful for their service and do everything humanly possible to express appreciation through acts of encouragement, thoughtfulness, service, and respect.

According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, on average, one law enforcement officer is killed in the line-of-duty somewhere in the United States every 58 hours. Since the first known line-of-duty death in 1791, over 20,000 law enforcement officers have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Currently, over 900,000 law enforcement officers serve communities across America to battle over 1 million violent crimes each year.

Aside from fatalities, over the last decade, there is an average of nearly 60,000 assaults against police officers, resulting in 16,000 injuries each year.

For the NYPD, the danger is sobering as the department has lost more officers in the line-of-duty than any other, with over 700 fatalities.

As of May, 2015, there have already been 37 police fatalities nationwide with 9 of these as firearms-related.

Final Reflections
As Officer Brian Moore is laid to rest, his passing must ignite a fire of compassion, respect, and appreciation in the hearts of all privileged to call New York City and America their home.

It is time to forever honor Officer Brian Moore and all law enforcement officers across this great land who make us proud through their sacred oath to protect and serve.

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As authored for Vincent’s weekly column titled “Reawakening the Nation” for the Epoch Times, 35 countries, 21 languages and growing.

1. NYPD Officer Brian Moore (Courtesy NYPD)
2. NYPD Mourning Patch (Courtesy NYPD)

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Monday, April 27, 2015

Principles of American Policing

Forty-five years ago, the spacecraft Apollo 13 and its crew were on their way to the moon. But, the mission was dramatically derailed with an oxygen tank explosion.

An immortalized distress call was radioed to mission control at the Johnson Space Center in Texas: “Houston, we’ve had a problem here.”

In order to survive, the astronauts had to courageously collaborate, plan, and sacrifice to return 200,000 miles safely to earth.

America, we’ve had a problem here

There are police-community tensions in America due to events in Baltimore, Ferguson, Cleveland, Staten Island, and North Charleston.

We must honestly assess the breakdown of trust and enhance police-community relations.

As learned from Apollo 13, we must collaborate for failure is not an option.

Nine Principles of Policing

The principles of effective policing attributed to Sir Robert Peel for police-community relations are timeless.

The heart of these nine principles is summarized as a unity of effort “that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police.”

Peel also stresses “public approval of police existence, actions, and behavior and on police ability to secure and maintain public respect.”

Physical force is only necessary “when the exercise of persuasion, advice, and warning is found to be insufficient to obtain public cooperation to an extent necessary to secure observance of law or to restore order, and to use only the minimum degree of force necessary on any particular occasion for achieving a police objective.”

Police: Public Safety Life-Lines

America would quickly decay into chaos, lawlessness, and anarchy without dedicated police protecting and serving our communities.

It is imperative to take a moment to highlight recent, inspiring, and commendable police actions including the following:

•New Jersey police save elderly woman from burning home
•Police in Cincinnati save woman who overdosed
•Oklahoma City police officer saves woman from drowning
•Pennsylvania police save life of suicidal man welding box cutter
•Florida police save man from jumping off Skyway
•Charleston police officer saves baby’s life
•Thousands mourn slain San Jose officer as hero

Contemporary Policing Principles

Although Sir Robert Peel’s Nine Policing Principles are timeless, contemporary issues demand principles complementing tradition while respecting current realities.

Therefore, I have developed Nine Principles of American Policing to enhance dialogue, communication, and trust between police and communities:

1. Being pro-police and pro-community is inseparable, indefatigable, and preeminent. Police must at all times remain fully committed to protecting and serving the public through character, ethics, and leadership that is total and whole-hearted. Police must be guided by a moral compass that honors the community, Constitution, and Bill of Rights.
2. Respect must be the heart of the police and it must be unwavering for the profession, colleagues, and community. Respect can only be earned through integrity, accountability, and transparency. These qualities build trust, legitimacy, and collaboration.
3. Police deserve that every level of government provide the resources necessary for proper police staffing, training, and community service.
4. Initiatives enhancing police-community relations must continually be implemented and include citizen appreciation events, National Night Out, neighborhood block watches, and citizen police academies. Programs for youth, the future of the nation, are vital. These include school resource officers, youth police academies, character education, and mentoring initiatives.
5. Police deserve the latest and most effective technology to protect themselves and the public.
6. Moral courage must be encouraged, as police must be empowered to make decisions that are legal, ethical, and moral.
7. Patriotism is mission-critical. Honoring America, our flag, and our military personnel must be part and parcel of the police officer’s creed and take place at every event.
8. Police interventions must always be proportional, constitutional, and uphold quality of life issues deserved by all communities.
9. Police require a discerning recruitment process, education credentials, and ongoing training/certifications on issues including constitutional policing, diversity, civil rights, race-relations, violence prevention, community policing, crisis management, ethics, leadership, gangs, private security, and use of force.

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As authored for Vincent’s weekly column titled “Reawakening the Nation” for the Epoch Times, 35 countries, 21 languages and growing.


1. NYPD Motorcycle Unit at Times Square, April 25, 2015. (Vincent J. Bove)
2. NYPD briefing at Columbus Circle, Feb. 27, 2015. (Vincent J. Bove)
3. NYPD horses at Times Square, March 25, 2015. (Vincent J. Bove)
4. NYPD Honor Guard during National Anthem at National Law Enforcement Associates Holiday event, Dec. 12. 2014. (Vincent J. Bove)

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Militant Extremists: Desecrating Islamic Dignity

Religious individuals exercise a human right ignited by their moral compass, personal inclination, and inner calling to believe in something greater than themselves.

Religion allows believers to express reverence, piety, devotion, hope, and charity. It is commonly understood as an established profession of faith involving liturgical practices, community, prayer, and a way of life.

The world religions allows believers to follow their understanding of a natural law that urges worship; a divine positive law revealed through sacred writings; and a fire within their hearts that inflames devotion.

For believers, goodness from the heart is essential to a life of faith. The heart must be the source of acts of charity, sacrifice, devotion, pilgrimages, vows, sanctifying experiences, and holydays.

Faith for believers is complemented by reason and is natural. Yet, they also believe that faith is inspired by divine revelation through sacred writings, and therefore it is supernatural.

A life of faith deserves the protection of every just society and respect from other faith-based communities.

Religion Honors Human Rights

Religion demands great respect for the freedom of all people and it is never authentic if it tries to force its teachings, values, or beliefs upon anyone.

Faith in any religion must always have freedom, tolerance for other faiths, (as well as for those who chose not to practice religion) and charity as core values if it is to be worthy of respect.

Every human being has the inalienable right to follow the dictates of their own conscience and to choose whatever persuasion they desire. The great religions of the world, notably Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, honor the dignity of other faiths and human rights.

Each of these religions commends piety, justice, fortitude, temperance, and self-control.

Yet, there can be grave contradictions to the dignity of religion expressed through blasphemy, hypocrisy, sacrilege, and desecration. These offenses have taken place in every faith from the beginning of time.

Islam: A Magnificent Faith

The religion taught by the prophet Muhammad, which has the Koran (Qu ‘ran) as its sacred book, is a magnificent faith deserving of respect not only from its followers but of every person who upholds freedom, dignity, and human rights.

As with every great faith, being a Muslim (a follower of Islam) is a personal experience that involves life-enriching virtues of piety, humility, self-surrender, kindness, gentleness, prayer, charity, love, bearing witness, fasting, service, and respect for life.

The Islamic faith has heart-warming ethics at its core, with values inspired by the Prophet Muhammad that includes justice, forgiveness, compassion, mercy, sincerity, truth, generosity, humility, tolerance, modesty, responsibility, and courage.

Militant Extremism: An Infectious Disease

As with other great faiths, Muslims abhor hypocrisy, cheating, envy, anger, divisiveness, and extremism.

Militant extremists are not faithful to Islam and desecrate its teaching. Recent headlines paint the picture of individuals dishonoring Islamic dignity including the following:

•April 20: Islamic State Shoots and Beheads 30 Ethiopian Christians in Libya
•April 18: Christian migrants thrown overboard by Muslims ‘in dispute over prayer’
•April 16: Nothing Sacred: ISIS destroys Christian grave sites in Mosul
•April 12: Two Muslims Burn 14-Year-Old Christian Boy in Pakistan
•April 2: 147 Killed in Islamic Extremists Attack in Kenya College
•March 25: Muslims Slaughter Eighty-Two Christians as they Sleep in Nigeria

Final Reflections

The Muslim faith is one of great dignity deserving respect because of its belief in the sacredness of human life, charity, prayer, service, and the rights of all people.

Yet, there is an ongoing escalation of atrocities throughout the world by militant extremists dishonoring Islamic dignity through acts of hypocrisy, blasphemy, sacrilege, and desecration. These are contemptuous actions screaming to heaven for justice.

Along with every true Muslim believer, the world community must condemn these evils. Every step necessary must be taken to bring militant extremists to justice, and prevent the continual escalation of atrocities that dishonor not only the Islamic faith, but the human rights of people throughout the world.

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1. Thousands of the Indonesian Muslims congregate during Eid ul Fitr mass prayer in Istiqlac Mosque, the largest mosque in Southeast Asia, located in Central Jakarta, Indonesia, August 31, 2011. (Gunawan Kartapranata)
2. People washing up to pray at Badshahi Mosque, June 10, 2004. (Pale blue dot)
3. The Blue Mosque at sunset, June 6, 2004. (Constantin Barbu)

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Holocaust Remembrance Day: April 16, 2015

On Thursday, April 16, 2015, we must pause to commemorate
"Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day."

It is a solemn day to remember the six million Jewish people murdered in the Holocaust.

The Innocence of a Child

Anne Frank stands as the most memorable child of World War II and one of the most enduring children of all of history. Anne is a testimony to the dignity of the human being and that virtue endures despite the darkest possibility of inhumanity.

"The Diary of Anne Frank" charts the two years of this young Jewish girl from 1942-1944 when she hid with her family and another family from the Nazis. The book has become one of the critical documents of the twentieth century and profoundly inspires diversity, the power of the pen, and the triumph of good over evil. Anne's book is one of the world's most read literary treasures, selling over 25 million copies and being translated into 67 different languages.

As a German-Jewish teenager, Anne was forced into hiding to escape execution from the Nazis during the Holocaust. After 25 months of hiding with her family, she was betrayed to the Nazis and deported to the Bergen-Bergen concentration camp. She died at 15 years old of typhus in March of 1945 while in the concentration camp.

Despite the dark chaos of intolerance, hatred, and ignorance during her time, Anne Frank continued to believe in the goodness of humanity. On July 15, 1944, Anne wrote:

"It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart. It’s utterly impossible for me to build my life on a foundation of chaos, suffering and death. I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness, I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too, I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more."

Testimonial of a Holocaust Survivor

As a counterpoint to the evil that took place in Auschwitz, I am reminded of an event I took part in on March 28, 2007. The Anti-Defamation League celebrated a Solidarity Seder with law enforcement, government, community, faith-based, corporate, and citizen guests in Trenton, N.J. It was fittingly held at the Trenton War Memorial—a national historic site—built as “a great community center” dedicated to the memory of American soldiers and sailors who died fighting World War I.

Prior to the Seder, a representative of the Anti-Defamation League explained the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan. Contradicting their hatred, he shared these treasured words of Emma Lazarus inscribed on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty:

"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door"

Testimonials were then shared, including one from a young man who spoke about the heartbreak of seeing his mother arrested as they attempted to enter America from Mexico. This young man went on to proudly become an American citizen and applied to become a member of the United States Army. Another young man stated there are no complaints about immigration as American’s enjoy the fruits and vegetables harvested through the labor and sweat of immigrants working on farms.

The most moving testimonial was by Holocaust survivor Shelly Zeiger who spoke passionately about “the town’s fool.” This man, lovingly referred to as Anton by Zeiger, was ridiculed as a misfit by his townspeople in western Ukraine and considered a fool because of his obsessive respect for all life. Although a Catholic, Anton risked his own life to hide Jewish neighbors in his home. Anton hid Shelly, his father and mother, and two girls from the Nazis in the Zbrow ghetto for 27 months beginning in 1942. Shelly said, “Anton was truly a hero who teaches us to respect each human being, for courage can be found in the most unlikely of persons.”

After the war, Shelly and his family came to America. Years later, he mustered enough courage to go back to his hometown in the Ukraine to find Anton. He found him and brought him to live with him and his family in America, a country whose appreciation for diversity is the heartbeat of the nation and the world.

Liberation Monument, Liberty State Park, Jersey City, NJ

Surrounded by the historic significance of Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty and the New York skyline, is the Liberation Monument. Designed by Sculptor Natan Rapaport, this inspirational statue depicts a World War II American Soldier carrying a survivor from the Auschwitz concentration camp. The image moves the soul to reflect on the values of compassion, character, and community.

The legacy of America urges a rebirth of patriotism that will transform us once again into a nation destined to be a hope for the world through our commitment to moral leadership, persevering vigilance, and dedicated collaboration.

In an atrocity unparalleled in evil and scope, six million Jews died at the hands of the Nazis during the Holocaust. Between 1940 and 1945, about 1.5 million men, women, and children died at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp.

Night by Elie Wiesel

Elie Wiesel, a survivor of Auschwitz, is the author of 36 works dealing with Judaism, the Holocaust and the moral responsibility of all people to fight hatred, racism and genocide. In his book, Night, one of the most profound and renowned works of Holocaust literature, Wiesel records his lifelong personal anguish with the Holocaust:

"Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky. Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never."

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1. US Army medics help evacuate ill and starving survivors. Buchenwald, Germany, April 1, 1945. —US Holocaust Memorial Museum
2. Diary of Anne Frank
3. Inmates waving a home-made American flag greet U.S. Seventh Army troops upon their arrival at the Allach concentration camp on April 30, 1945.
Photo credit: National Archives, courtesy of USHMM Photo Archives
4. The Liberation Monument (Bill Kimbark)

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Abraham Lincoln: Assassinated 150 Years Ago Today

As America commemorates the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's assassination today, we must pause and allow his patriotism to reignite our nation.

My newest article on our 16th president titled "Lincoln's Leadership Lessons for Law Enforcement," was published in The New Jersey Police Chief Magazine, February 2014 edition gives insight on the enduring principles he lived by:

*Leadership must be open to silence, study, and self containment
*Leadership possesses extraordinary empathy and concern for others
*Leadership must be grounded in moral self confidence developed by understanding through study and hard work
*The foundation of authentic leadership is moral character
*Leadership realizes that some things that are right legally are not right morally
*Leadership honors military service especially those who offered the ultimate sacrifice
*Leadership is approachable and not confined to an ivory tower
*Leadership utilizes the power of persuasion, not the manipulation of aggressiveness
*Leadership masters the art of communication and public speaking
*Leadership expresses visionary principles which are constantly reaffirmed

These principles of character, ethics, and leadership have been addressed in my presentations, articles, newest book, and blogs including:

Abraham Lincoln: An Enduring Icon of Leadership/Posted December 12, 2006

Americans of all ages continue to be captivated by the life, death, legacy and message of Abraham Lincoln.

During speaking engagements with students, educators, and law enforcement personnel throughout the country, I am continually astounded at the detailed information individuals have on Abraham Lincoln including specific dates from his life, the Civil War, the Gettysburg Address, the Emancipation Proclamation, his second inaugural, and his assassination by John Wilkes Booth at Ford's Theater in Washington, DC on April 14, 1865.

During recent character education presentations, students from a 3rd grade class were able to recently quote to me with admirable precision President Lincoln's words from Gettysburg on November 19, 1863:
"that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

In our troubled times, so besieged by violence, turmoil, and scandal, Abraham Lincoln remains an icon of dedication to country. From his early days of studying by the fireside as a young boy to his rise to the presidency, the character of Lincoln is worthy of emulation. Lincoln's courage and perseverance in the face of great adversity serve as an example that what is needed in America's response to the current crisis of violence, scandal, and division is newfound perseverance, unity, strength, and transformation.

Aside from publication in the New Jersey Police Chief Magazine, February 2014, the full length article was also published in The Chief of Police, Winter, 2014 edition.

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Columbine, Virginia Tech Anniversaries: Reverence, Vigilance, Prevention

As America commemorates the anniversaries of the Columbine High School and Virginia Tech tragedies on the fateful days of April 16th and 20th respectively, we must pause.

The events demand reverence for those who lost their lives and prayer for their families.

Vigilance, especially during these tragic anniversary times is also in order. An abundance of caution must be the foundation of mitigation, prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery principles of crisis management.

Columbine: A Snapshot

On April 20, 1999, two students killed 12 students and one teacher at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado before committing suicide. The tragedy sparked a national response on school violence, bullying, character education, crisis planning, warning signs, police tactics, and firearms.

The tragedy continues to be analyzed due to its issues including the following:

•Diversionary tactics
•Propane tanks converted to bombs
•Nearly 100 explosive devices and bombs
•Firearms including a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun, a double-barreled sawed-off shotgun, a Hi-Point 995 Carbine 9mm, and a 9mm Intratec TEC-9 semi-automatic handgun.

Columbine, and other incidents, led to a U.S. Secret Service report that shared the following findings relative to pre-attack behavior:

•Incidents of targeted violence at school were rarely sudden, impulsive acts.
•Prior to most incidents, other people knew about the attacker's idea and/or plan to attack.
•Most attackers did not threaten their targets directly prior to advancing the attack.
•There is no accurate or useful profile of students who engaged in targeted school violence.
•Most attackers engaged in some behavior prior to the incident that caused others concern or indicated a need for help.
•Most attackers had difficulty coping with significant losses or personal failures. Moreover, many had considered or attempted suicide.
•Many attackers felt bullied, persecuted, or injured by others prior to the attack.
•Most attackers had access to and had used weapons prior to the attack.
•In many cases, other students were involved in some capacity.
•Despite prompt law enforcement responses, most shooting incidents were stopped by means other than law enforcement intervention.

Virginia Tech: A Snapshot

The serenity of Virginia Tech was shattered on April 16, 2007, with 32 students and teachers killed and 17 wounded.

This violence was particularly heart-wrenching because it was preventable. But lessons were not learned from the Columbine tragedy and numerous government documents including the following:

•“Early Warning, Timely Response: A Guide to Safe Schools,” August 1998
•“The Final Report and Findings of the Safe School Initiative: Implications for the Prevention of School Attacks in the United States” by the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Department of Education, May 2002
•“Practical Information on Crisis Planning: A Guide for Schools and Communities,” May 2003

Despite a student killing two students on the fourth floor of the West Ambler Johnston residence hall, there were no precautions taken by school administration that other shootings may occur. It was more than two hours later when an email alert was sent to the entire campus, but no emergency actions, such as lockdown, were implemented. Reprehensibly, the email did not emphasize that two students were killed or that the shooter was still at large.

Virginia Tech was eerily reminiscent of the Columbine tragedy-whose eighth anniversary was to be commemorated in just four days. It would be later discovered that the killer was obsessed with the Columbine killings.

How is it conceivable that two people are killed on a college campus during the anniversary week of Columbine, with a killer at large and no lockdown implemented? The failure of leadership is inexcusable as nothing was done to prevent the additional killings and injuries over two hours later.

Also, despite the pleadings of a vigilant professor calling for help for this student who manifested severe, troubling warning signs, school officials failed to provide the proper intervention to protect the campus. Not only were there warning signs, but the university had been put on notice at least a year and a half before the incident.

America wake-up: character education, warning signs, threat assessment, and crisis planning principles must be the order of the day.

Note Well:
Linkedin: Vincent J. Bove Consulting, Speaker Services, Publishing

Join Vincent’s Linkedin Group: The Sentinel: Reawakening the Nation

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As authored for Vincent’s weekly column on Friday, April 17, 2015, titled “Reawakening the Nation” for the Epoch Times, 35 countries, 21 languages and growing.

1. Campus Attacks / Cover from Publication (Courtesy of U.S. Secret Service, FBI, U.S. Department of Education.
2. Mourners during Virginia Tech's Day of Remembrance honoring the 32 people killed in a mass shooting one year earlier, in Blacksburg, Va., on April 16, 2008. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
3. Victims of Violent Crime by Age. (Courtesy U.S. Department of Education)

The issues addressed in this blog / column are covered extensively in Vincent's newest book, "Listen To Their Cries: Calling the Nation to Renewal from Columbine to Virginia Tech."

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Monday, April 06, 2015

Sanctuary Profaned: Protecting America's Houses of Worship

In the classic novel, “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame,” the innocent Esmeralda finds herself framed for murder and witchcraft.

Despite proclaiming her innocence, she confesses after being threatened to have her foot crushed in a vice, and is sentenced to a public hanging.

Just seconds before her execution, Quasimodo, the hunchback of the book's title, heroically saves Esmeralda and brings her to the cathedral screaming with thunderous, dramatic, and frantic vehemence, “Sanctuary, Sanctuary, Sanctuary!”

Violence Unleashed

Yet, the innocence represented by Quasimodo saving Esmeralda by giving her sanctuary is a stark contrast to the violence that can take place in houses of worship.

Just after the Columbine tragedy of 1999, I began a speaking circuit throughout the United States to address violence.

The school violence prevention conferences I spoke at were filled with law enforcement officials, teachers, counselors, government officials, administrators, and faith-based leaders.

During my presentations, I continually told attendees that violence was unleashed, as indicated by tragedies taking place in our schools, campuses, communities, and workplaces.

I stressed that violence was even impacting places once considered sanctuary: our houses of worship.

Unfortunately, this violence continues, as recently depicted during my leadership keynote for the FBI, which included my commentary on these headlines:

•Armed guards keep watch over church services
•Church pastor killed during service, police say
•Shooting at mosque in Coachella, California might be a hate crime, police say
•4 shot, 1 dead at California retreat center
•Estranged Wife Fatally Shot During Services at New Jersey Church
•Catholic priest was found murdered in his California rectory
•Gunman Fatally Shoots Member of New Life Church in Colorado
•Two Killed at “Youth With A Mission” in Colorado
•Shooting at Sikh temple in Wisconsin, at least 7 dead
•Guard killed during shooting at Holocaust museum
•Man Fatally Shoots Ex-Wife As She Plays Church Organ, Police Say
•Man arrested for shooting at Chicago-area mosque with pellet rifle as hundreds worship inside
•Ex-Ku Klux Klan leader charged in Kansas Jewish center killings

In “A Study of Active Shooter Incidents in the United States Between 2000 and 2013” this FBI report states:

“The 6 incidents in houses of worship resulted in 21 people killed and 27 wounded…The ages of the shooters ranged from 24 to 69. Most incidents occurred on Sunday (3), with the rest occurring on Tuesday (1), a Friday (1), and a Saturday (1). In all, 3 shooters were apprehended (2 of whom were restrained by civilians until police arrived), and 3 committed suicide at the scene (2 before police arrived and 1 after).”

World Events Demand Vigilance

Compounding domestic incidents in houses of worship that include hate crime, domestic violence, and murder, the acceleration of terrorist incidents worldwide urges fully dedicated crisis planning.

Just recently, the massacre of 148 Christians by Islamic extremists at a college in Kenya, reminds of the devastating consequences of terrorism.
The possibility for a major terrorist attack in the United States always exists and demands vigilance.

Security must be enhanced and must include awareness and prevention training, security vulnerability assessments by board-certified professionals, drills, programs, target-hardening, partnerships, certifications, and protocols.

Recommendations: A Partial List

The collaboration of our houses of worship, law enforcement, and private security should include learning from the aforementioned FBI active shooter document, active shooter training as available through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and implementing “Recommended Best Practices for Securing Houses of Worship” by ASIS International including the following:

•Report suspicious packages to police, and do not touch the suspicious package. Develop a Suspicious Package Protocol with instructions on reporting to police as well as not touching or moving the item. Address this issue in emergency evacuation procedures.
•Request local law enforcement presence during high volume worship times and holiday celebrations.
•Include law enforcement in your security planning process.
•Consider hiring off-duty police officers as part of your security program.

Simply stated, a word to the wise urging vigilance: “to be forewarned is to be forearmed.”

Note Well:
Linkedin: Vincent J. Bove Consulting, Speaker Services, Publishing

Join Vincent’s Linkedin Group: The Sentinel: Reawakening the Nation

Facebook: Vincent J. Bove Consulting, Speaker Services, Publishing

As authored for Vincent’s weekly column titled “Reawakening the Nation” for the Epoch Times, 35 countries, 21 languages and growing.

1. NYPD presence at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Fifth Avenue, February 28, 2015 (Vincent J. Bove)
2. NYPD officers at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Fifth Avenue, December 26, 2014. (Vincent J. Bove)

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