Friday, January 23, 2015

America's Broken Families: Police Issues and Response

A police officer once shared his unforgettable anguish by asking me, “Where have all the parents gone?”

His concern was based on 24 years of virtually being a parent to abandoned youth because their parents were basically absent. The officer shared the following example of an incident he responded to:

•Three 9-year-olds swimming out to a buoy in a deep water channel with no visibility, no life jackets, and strong currents. Someone’s dog was swimming in the same water, wearing a life preserver while the children at peril in the deeper section were without life jackets. In the same river just two weeks earlier, a 7-year-old drowned while swimming alone.

Based on such scenarios, America will experience societal dysfunction caused by parents who lack connectedness to the lives of their very own children.

Broken Communities: Lessons From Nature

There is a documentary titled “Killer Elephants.” It depicts slaughtered carcasses of young bull rhinos on an African Wildlife Preserve.

The initial understanding was that poachers, interested in cashing in on the ivory tusks of the rhinos, were responsible. Yet, as carcasses were autopsied, the tusks remained intact and deaths were found to have been caused by catastrophic brutal force.

Although there was never a shortage of food, it was determined that the rhino deaths were caused by young bull “Killer Elephants” who had been displaced from their herds.

Being communal by nature, the young bull elephants developed an internal rage that they vented through the killing of the bull rhinos.

An American High School Comparison

There is a correlation between the “Killer Elephant” story and violence that took place at a New Orleans high school after Hurricane Katrina in 2006.

At the time, there were 25 security personnel protecting John McDonough High School in New Orleans due to an eruption of violence.

Many students lived on their own since their parents were displaced due to the hurricane. This was a time bomb for anger and a deficit of civility.

In the first six weeks of the school year, a teacher and security guard were brutally beaten by students and hospitalized. Many other students attacked security personnel, teachers, and a police officer. Over 20 students of the 775 faced expulsion and another 50 had been suspended. There were fights every day with some very serious assaults.

The Gang Mentality

A gang is understood as a group sharing a common connection and involved with criminal activities. Many individuals are proud of their “gang community” and are united by their scornful defiance of authority.

Becoming a gang member is often ritualistic and can involve being beat up or having to commit a crime. There is a hierarchy within the gang where individuals can work themselves to the top of the community.

The FBI National Gang Threat Assessment mentions the following:

• Jurisdictions are experiencing an increase in juvenile gangs and violence, in part, due to the increased incarceration rates of older members and the aggressive recruitment of juveniles in schools. Gangs have traditionally targeted youths because of their vulnerability and susceptibility to recruitment tactics, as well as their likelihood of avoiding harsh criminal sentencing and willingness to engage in violence.
• Juvenile gang members in some communities are hosting parties and organizing special events that develop into opportunities for recruiting, drugs, sexual exploitation, and criminal activity.
• Gangster Rap gangs, often composed of juveniles, are forming and are being used to launder drug money through seemingly legitimate businesses.

Community Policing

Responding to the American crisis of shattered communities, the concept of community policing and its proper incorporation into the culture of a police department and community is critical.

Community policing initiatives include practitioner certifications, citizen police academies, personal safety training, national night out, award recognition events, neighborhood block watches, school resource officers, street lighting enhancement initiatives, and collaborative corporate and school programs.

The hope of America is community and the heart of reawakening the nation from our crisis of broken families.

As published in Vincent's weekly "Reawakening the Nation" column for the Epoch Times, Friday, Jan. 23, 2015.

Photo's
1. Los Angeles Police Department officers detain a twenty-year old "Street Villains" gang member on April 29, 2012. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
2. (Photo Courtesy FBI)

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Monday, January 19, 2015

Honoring the Dream: Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

As the nation honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on January 19th, 2015, a testament to his greatness is that nearly every major city in America has a street or school named after him.

After his death in Memphis on April 4, 1968, the words of Martin Luther King Jr. still hold captivating influence and inspiring gracefulness:

On Equality (Birmingham jail, 1963)
"Before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, we were here. Before the pen of Jefferson etched across the pages of history the majestic words of the Declaration, we were here."

On Nonconformity (1963)
"The saving of our world from pending doom will come, not through the complacent adjustment of the conforming majority, but through the creative maladjustment of a nonconforming minority."

On Civil Rights (Selma to Montgomery, 1965)
"We are moving to the land of freedom. Let us march to the realization of the American dream."

On Peace (1964)
"Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace and thereby transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood."

On the Dream of Freedom (1964)
"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed...that all men are created equal."

On Freedom (1963)
"So let freedom ring. From the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire let freedom ring. From the mighty mountains of New York, let freedom ring. From the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania, let freedom ring. But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi..."

On the Future (April 3, 1968 – the night before his murder)
"I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land. So I'm happy tonight, I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord."

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Friday, January 16, 2015

Paris Terror, New Yorkers, and Vigilance

The horrific attack in Paris is a wake-up call, a chilling reminder that terror can happen anytime and anyplace, and can have devastating consequences.

There is evil in the world expressed through radical extremists. At this very moment the next terrorist plan may be underway. We must be vigilant as New York City is always a potential target.

The NYPD and every 1 of over 8 million people calling New York home must unite because the world can be a very dangerous place.

Yet, terror is not inevitable but instead preventable when there is unity, leadership, and vigilance.

NYPD Slowdown

The NYPD slowdown is hopefully over and will not return. The eyes of the world are on New York—even terrorists with unconscionable intentions carefully watch our every move.

These are times that demand unity between the NYPD and all of the people of this beloved city. There is no room for failure and the 9/11 tragedy must be forever remembered.

A complete dedication to protect and serve by the NYPD in collaboration with all people is mission critical. Each New Yorker shares the responsibility to exercise leadership, vigilance, and collaboration with the police.

The sworn oath to protect and serve must remain ignited in the hearts of our police officers. There is no time for petty politics, power plays, inflammatory rhetoric, or manipulative slanders by anyone, especially those in leadership roles. Each and every person must humbly examine his or her conscience and cultivate peaceful co-existence. The health, safety, and welfare of millions of people depend on unity as does the very morale of America.

It is time to protect the city of New York and to proudly represent the honorable ethical principles of the police profession.

NYPD Officers: Rise to the occasion, stand tall, exude character, accountability, and moral courage by serving the people you have sworn to protect. Honor your badge, your city, your noble profession, your country. Your sacrifices are admirable and your dedication appreciated.

Citizens: Be the eyes and ears of the city. Be united with 35,000 police officers and encourage them through respect, civility, and dignity. The responsibility of protecting life, property, and information is upon all of us.

Keep your eyes and ears wide open and do something as immediately as you see something.

Safeguarding New York City
For many years, I have conducted “Leadership Principles: Crisis Planning, Community Partnerships, Violence Prevention” keynotes to safeguard New York City.

Attendees included NYPD rank and file, FDNY and security directors, and property managers, as well as representatives from other law enforcement agencies, including the FBI.

Initiatives focused on safeguarding facilities and infrastructure including:

• museums, libraries, cultural properties
• The New York Stock Exchange and financial institutions
• hospitals
• commercial and residential properties
• colleges, schools, and universities

As with my crisis management events nationwide—complemented by extensive published works including this weekly column—these initiatives serve to encourage professionals and provide the tools needed to protect society.

The heart of my work is to inspire ethical protectors who cherish American values and are fully dedicated to safeguarding lives, property, and information. The practical tools include physical, personnel, and procedural security that has ethics, vigilance, and collaboration as its foundation.

The lessons learned by attendees at these initiatives have principles fit to serve New York during these challenging times. These lessons apply not only to preventing terrorism but any acts of violence and mitigating consequences of natural disasters.

Final Reflection

In the early days of 1776, a great American patriot named Thomas Paine published a short document titled “Common Sense.” This masterpiece profoundly influenced the political landscape and altered American history because it touched patriots seeking freedom, independence, and liberty.

Paine stirred the conscience of America and influenced the changing of the world because he inspired unity.

“Common Sense” must be reignited through enhanced collaboration of the NYPD, citizens, and elected officials. New Yorkers must be fully committed to protecting our sacred freedoms and democracy, only possible through civility, humility, and valor.

Each of us who loves this great city must never turn our backs on one another. We must cultivate respect, reconciliation, and renewal to safeguard our cherished way of life and through our unity inspire the reawakening of the nation.

Note Well
As originally published in Vincent's weekly column titled "Reawakening the Nation" for the Jan. 16, 2015 edition of the Epoch Times.


Photos
1. NYPD in Rockefeller Center, Oct. 10, 2014 (Vincent J. Bove)
2. Grand Central Terminal, Sept. 23, 2014 (Vincent J. Bove)
3. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Jan. 10, 2015 (Vincent J. Bove)

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Friday, January 09, 2015

Police-People Unity: All Lives Matter

Police officers are the security lifeline in every American community.

As sworn officials dedicated to protect and serve, they must be ethical protectors.

America’s police officers must stand as guardians of democracy. This is crucial as we often witness a callous dereliction of human decency and unspeakable acts of violence.

Our nation depends on police officers taking the high ground. They must be fully committed to forging collaborative partnerships with their communities.

Every officer and community member must remember that being pro-police is indistinguishable from being pro-community. Both are one and the same and it is impossible to be pro-community without being pro-police.

We must live by the premise that all lives are sacred, all lives matter, and we are all in this together.

America’s Call to Renewal

As contemporary police-people issues continue, America must rise to a higher standard by enhancing community cohesiveness.

Public safety must never be jeopardized due to any misunderstandings between the police, people, and public officials.

Respect must always be the heart of the police officer and every member of the community with every encounter, from the most ordinary to the sublime.

Acts of contempt, arrogance, racism, corruption, rudeness, and disrespect always backfire. Respect never fails; respect radiates truth, it is selfless, patient, forbearing, and in due time penetrates hearts of stone.

Currently, there are challenges to the core American value of police-people unity based on tensions ignited in Ferguson and New York City.

We see indications of division between police, people, and public officials. These misunderstandings are toxic since all members of society must be unified, not polarized.

Each and every police officer must be a peacemaker fully dedicated to their profession and to positive community relations.

Each and every civilian must be law-abiding and fully dedicated to positive police relations.

We must live by the principle that each and every person deserves respect, courtesy, civility, and dignity. These virtues are the pillars of police-people cohesiveness.

Fallen Officers

The recent senseless deaths of NYPD Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu remind us that human life is sacred.

These two gallant officers were not only extraordinary guardians dedicated to community but devoted family members. This tragedy reminds us of the threats officers face protecting us. We must admire and appreciate police service and allow these ultimate sacrifices to ignite compassion, character, and community within our souls.

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund reminds us of the perils that police face with a staggering increase of violence:

Preliminary law enforcement fatalities from Jan. 1 through Dec. 30, 2014 are:

• 24 percent increase in total fatalities
• 56 percent increase in firearm-related fatalities
• 11 percent increase in traffic-related fatalities

Fallen Civilians

Deaths of civilians during 2014 are also alarming and we must never become de-sensitized to the violence taking place in America.

Headlines continually depict a carnage taking place throughout America. As a devotee of American history, I think of President Franklin D. Roosevelt stating after the Pearl Harbor attack, “December 7, 1941, a date that will live in infamy…”

If President Roosevelt were alive today, I think he would be talking about infamy once again as violence has entered into the very heart of America’s heart. Our schools, families, campuses, communities, and workplaces experience appalling violence with no end in sight.

Final Reflections

For 20 years I have advocated police-people unity through leadership, violence prevention, and crisis-planning initiatives in presentations throughout the nation and in many published works.

These efforts have been inspired by countless police officers generously dedicating time and talent to charitable causes and selflessly safeguarding their communities.

Extraordinary citizens who work side-by-side volunteering time with the police to improve community life have also been greatly inspiring.

America must rise to the occasion with full-force dedication to police-people unity. When we realize that all lives matter and each person is sacred—deserving respect, courtesy, and dignity—we will be on the road to reawakening the nation.

Note Well
As originally published in Vincent's weekly column titled "Reawakening the Nation" for the Friday, Jan. 9, 2015 edition of the Epoch Times.


Photo's
1.Times Square NYPD Police Station, Dec. 20, 2014 (Vincent J. Bove)
2.NYPD vehicles on East 12th Street, Dec. 5, 2014 (Vincent J. Bove)
3.NYPD Officer Rafael Ramos(left)and Officer Wenjian Liu --- “Fidelis ad Mortem”, the motto of the NYPD translated as “Faithful Unto Death.” (Photo Courtesy NYPD)
4.NYPD officers on post in Times Square, Dec. 10, 2014 (Vincent J. Bove)

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Friday, January 02, 2015

NYPD, Inspire America: Courtesy, Respect, Community

The NYPD graduation ceremony this past Monday gives nearly 1,000 police recruits the call to be ethical protectors for New York City.

During controversial times, these new police officers must respond to societal diseases of violence and callousness.

New York City’s new officers, along with all their NYPD colleagues, can inspire the nation by exemplifying courtesy, respect, and community.

The order of the day and throughout their careers is to reflect character, ethics, and leadership as their moral compass.

America is Watching

The NYPD is under a microscope and the eyes of the nation are watching.

A full force renewal to effective policing principles (police–people collaboration) has been ignited by the Ferguson event and local issues in New York City including:
•The Eric Garner “chokehold” tragedy
•An accidental shooting death of a civilian by an NYPD officer in a public housing development
•The grand jury decision to not indict the officer involved with the Eric Garner incident and protests
•The tragic deaths of Officer Rafael Ramos and Officer Wenjian Liu

Police officers must respond to these challenges by polishing their shields with courtesy, professionalism, and respect, as enshrined on each NYPD vehicle.

These virtues—that have the power to transform society by building bridges were evident on Saturday, Dec. 27.

The funeral, attended by an estimated 25,000 was a sacrosanct event of the highest order. The sea of blue that silently and prayerfully honored their brother officer was an inspiration to the nation and the dignity of policing.

But a small group of about 200 officers brought disgrace upon themselves and their profession. By turning their backs on the mayor while he spoke, they flagrantly violated respect, the most basic principle of ethics. This was particularly contemptuous since expressed at the funeral of a slain brother officer and before his family.

Being laid to rest is a time for respect. It must never be an occasion for exploitation, contempt, and disrespect toward anyone. Police officers must take the high ground and de-escalate problems, not intensify them.

Those who honored the solemnity of the occasion dignified the honor of the NYPD and law enforcement and demonstrated true respect for the memory of Officer Ramos and his family. These officers refrained from attempting to politically exploit the sacredness of the funeral despite frustrations with the mayor.

The rift between the New York City mayor and the police department is no secret to anyone. But there is always a way to do the right thing and to disagree at the right time and place without being disagreeable. Meetings with the mayor and police unions this week are a positive step toward reconciliation.

The eyes of America are indeed upon the NYPD. A sincere effort for dialogue and ethical principles must be intensified by all parties. At the upcoming funeral of Officer Wenjian Liu on Sunday, Jan. 4, ethical behavior, not political grandstanding, must be the heartbeat of all attendees.

Officer Liu and his widow and family, traveling here from as far as China, deserve dignity, respect, and courtesy from every person attending his funeral. Officer Ramos and his family deserved the same. It is time to make things right.

Turbulent Police–People Reality

Protests throughout the nation in response to recent incidents in Ferguson and Staten Island are a wake-up call.

The response to this turbulence must be comprehensive and include the following:

•Collaborative Community policing initiatives
•Intensifying character education programs in all American schools
•Respect for the right to peaceably assemble for law-abiding citizens
•Effectively responding to deeper American issues of race relations, unemployment, education, poverty, broken families, and disparity between the rich and poor

Final Reflection

Policing is an honorable profession but the badge does not guarantee respect, it must be earned and maintained by ethical behavior.

Police–community relations is the heart of community life. America must rise to the occasion through authentic, respectful actions, never through dishonorable behavior that only builds walls of distrust and contempt.

Note Well
As originally published in Vincent's weekly column titled "Reawakening the Nation" in the Friday, Jan. 2, 2015 edition of the Epoch Times.

Photos

1. NYPD officers salute slain officer Rafael Ramos following the funeral in Queens, N.Y., on Dec. 27, 2014. (Dai Bing/The Epoch Times)

2. “Fidelis ad Mortem,” the motto of the NYPD translated as “Faithful Unto Death.” (Courtesy NYPD)

3. Officer Makiah Brown of the NYPD’s 78th Precinct prior to her rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner” at the National Law Enforcement Associates event, with the author on Dec. 12, 2014. (Courtesy Vincent J. Bove Publishing)

4. NYPD on post at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral on Dec. 26, 2014. (Vincent J. Bove)

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Friday, December 26, 2014

NYPD Heartbreak: Compassion, Healing, Unity

Just hours after NYPD Officer Rafael Ramos was murdered while protecting the people of New York, his son Jaden did what countless teens do every day—spend time on Facebook.

But unlike the sentiments of other teens, the post of 13-year-old Jaden Ramos crystallized the heartbreak of a boy who just lost his beloved father.

“Today is the worst day of my life. Today, I had to say bye to my father. He was there for me every day of my life, he was the best father I could ask for. It’s horrible that someone gets shot dead for being a police officer. Everyone says they hate cops but they are the people they call for help.”

These words from a boy who loved his dad call us to compassion, healing, and unity.

NYPD: A Tragic Day

Officer Rafael Ramos, 40, and his partner, Officer Wenjian Liu, 32, were both killed as they sat inside their police cruiser in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, at 2:45 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 20.

As expressed by Police Commissioner William J. Bratton, “Today, two of New York’s Finest were shot and killed, with no warning, no provocation. They were, quite simply, assassinated—targeted for their uniform, and for the responsibility they embraced to keep the people of this city safe.”

NYPD Officer Rafael Ramos

Just this month, Ramos celebrated his 40th birthday. He was previously a school security officer and lived with his wife and family in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn, the neighborhood he grew up in.

On the day of his death, Ramos was just one hour away from graduating from a volunteer chaplain program after 10 weeks of study.

His aunt, Lucy Ramos, addressed the media on Dec. 22: “I would like to thank all those who have shared their sympathy and support for our beloved family member Raphael Ramos who will always be loved and missed by many. I hope and pray that we can reflect on this tragic loss of lives that [has] occurred so that we can move forward and find an amicable path to peaceful coexistence. We would also like to extend our condolences to the Liu family.”

NYPD Officer Wenjian Liu

Officer Wenjian Liu was a seven-year veteran of the department and was married just two months prior to being killed. He lived in Gravesend, Brooklyn, and has family in Taishan, Guangdong Province, China.

When Officer Liu was married, over 300 people attended his reception at Super Lucky Seafood Restaurant on Eighth Avenue in Brooklyn. The place was filled-to-capacity with family and friends.

Officer Liu’s widow, Pei Xia Chen spoke after his death, “The Liu family would like to express our gratitude and appreciation to the police department, our neighbors, the entire New York City community. … We would like to express our condolences to the Officer Ramos family. This is a difficult time for both of our families, but we will stand together and get through this together.”

Once, Officer Liu told a neighbor, “I know being a cop is dangerous but I must do it. If I don’t do it and you don’t do it, then who is going to do it?”

Liu’s family also released a statement expressing “Liu came to America when he was just 12 years old to seek the American dream … to seek a better life for the family.”

Final Reflections

America must pause to honor these NYPD officers. Officer Ramos and Officer Liu represent the heart of all that is great about our country, love for family, selfless service to community, and diversity.

Along with the families and friends who mourn the loss of these officers, the 84th Precinct Station House in Brooklyn, where both were assigned is heartbroken. The entire NYPD is also heartbroken as well as police officers and law-abiding citizens throughout the nation.

America must pray for the families of these fallen officers. We must also appreciate and support the police who protect and serve our communities.

As these heroes who have offered the ultimate sacrifice are laid to rest, may the reawakening of the nation be inspired in their honor.

Note Well
As published in Vincent's weekly column titled "Reawakening the Nation" in the Dec. 26, 2014 edition of the Epoch Times.


Photos
1. Angelica Tellez, 11, (L) and Angie Moronta, 11, attend a candlelight vigil in front of slain NYPD police officer Rafael Ramos’s childhood home in Brooklyn on Dec. 21, 2014. (Michael Graae/Getty Images)
2. Officer Raphael Ramos (Courtesy NYPD)
3. Officer Wenjian Liu (Courtesy NYPD)
4. Courtesy NYPD

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Friday, December 19, 2014

America’s Violence: Stop the Carnage

These are challenging times for police and communities throughout America.

As we celebrate holy days that call for peace on Earth, we continually witness acts of violence.

Headlines bombard us with campus, domestic, school, and workplace violence tragedies as well as acts of terrorism.

Domestic Violence

Just 10 days before Christmas, on Monday, Dec. 15, the nation witnessed a horrific domestic-violence killing spree in the Philadelphia suburbs.

According to the district attorney for Montgomery County, Pa., a suspect allegedly killed his ex-wife and her mother, grandmother, and sister, as well as the sister’s husband and their 14-year-old daughter. The sister’s 17-year-old son was also wounded in the carnage.

This kind of senseless tragedy—killing of numerous family members—is happening all too frequently.

On Christmas Eve 2008, nine people were killed from a combination of gunshot wounds and arson fire in Covina, Calif. The slayings left 15 children without one or both parents. It was committed by a man seeking revenge against his ex-wife and her family after being divorced just a week prior.

In still another domestic violence carnage, a man despondent about losing his job killed his wife and their five children in Los Angeles on Jan. 27, 2009. After killing his entire family, he committed suicide.

School and Campus Violence

Since the Columbine High School tragedy (12 students and 1 teacher killed) on April 20, 1999, school and campus violence has no end in sight.

Additional tragedies include the following:
• Marysville-Pilchuck High School, Oct. 24, 2014. Five people in the school cafeteria are shot with four fatalities.
• Sparks Middle School, Oct. 21, 2013. A 12-year-old shoots and kills a teacher. He also shoots and wounds two other 12-year-olds.
• Sandy Hook Elementary School, Dec. 14, 2012. Twenty children, ages 6 and 7, and six faculty and staff killed.
• University of Alabama, Feb. 12, 2010. Three people are killed and three wounded in shootings by a biology professor.
• Discovery Middle School, Feb. 5, 2010. A 14-year-old dies after being shot in the head in a school hallway by a fellow ninth-grader.
• Virginia Tech, April 16, 2007. The deadliest shooting incident by a single gunman in U.S. history with 32 killed and 17 wounded.
• Georgetown Amish School, Oct. 2, 2006. Five girls killed and six wounded
• Episcopal School of Jacksonville, March 6, 2012. A fired Spanish teacher kills the principal with an AK-47 assault rifle.
• Santa Monica College, June 7, 2013. Six people are killed by a gunman after a shooting spree.
• Florida State University, Nov. 20, 2014. Three students are shot by a gunman who was an alumnus of the university.

Workplace Violence

Some of America’s most notorious workplace violence tragedies include the following:
• The Washington Navy Yard killings of Sept. 16, 2013, that took the lives of 12 and injured eight others.
• A former postal worker killed a previous neighbor before driving to the Goleta, Calif., post office where she shot and killed six workers before committing suicide in 2006.
• A day trader killed his wife and two children before killing six others at two workplaces in 1999.

Terrorism

Although Sept. 11, 2001, is the pivotal point of American history related to terror, other cases include the following:
• The hatchet attack against a group of NYPD officers in 2014 by a self-radicalized extremist.
• The 2013 sentencing in the plot to bomb the Federal Reserve.
• The jihadi-planned attack on the U.S. Capitol in 2012.
• Shooting of an officer at the Holocaust Museum by a white supremacist on June 10, 2009.
• The plan to attack soldiers at Fort Dix Army Base in 2007.

Final Reflection

Police who dedicate themselves to protect and serve cannot stop the carnage alone. We must ignite the principle that “the police are the public and the public are the police.”

When this police-public collaboration is forged, America will begin to realize the reawakening of the nation.

Note Well
As published in Vincent's weekly column "Reawakening the Nation" in the Dec. 19, 2014 edition of the Epoch Times.

Photo's
1. Two sailors salute as taps is played during a memorial service at the Marine Barracks in Washington D.C., Sept. 22, 2013. (Photo Courtesy Department of Defense by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo)
2. FBI Evidence Response Team at the Holocaust Museum, June, 2009 (Photo Courtesy FBI)
3. Bullet holes in glass door at the Holocaust Museum after the June 10, 2009 shooting (Photo Courtesy FBI)

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Friday, December 12, 2014

NYPD Mission: Terminate, Train, Transform

Commissioner Bill Bratton was crystal clear to over 800 NYPD executives that abusive cops are "poisoning the well" during a one-day retreat on Oct. 2 in Queens.

These remarks were shared with the NYPD leadership before they were shown a disturbing video montage of violence by cops against suspects and innocent community members.

In one part of the video titled "What Would You Do?", an officer is observed brutalizing a handcuffed shoplifting suspect inside a Target store's holding area. The suspect does nothing but back helplessly into a wall.

In another portion, a plainclothes narcotics officer stomps on a suspects head while other officers pin him to the floor. NYPD Deputy Commissioner Joseph Reznick stated, "I am particularly ashamed of that one."

One of the most infamous part of the video depicts a uniformed officer knocking an innocent bicyclist down with a barbaric body-check.

Bratton stated there are "some officers in the department, unfortunately, who should not be here." He demanded zero tolerance for those who dishonor the NYPD badge through stark words of "brutality, corruption, racism and incompetence."

NYPD: Rise to the Occasion

The eyes of America and the entire world are focused on police-community issues. Recent tragedies in Ferguson, Cleveland and Staten Island demand moral leadership and medicinal collaboration.

Police officers who maintain polished shields by dedication as ethical protectors deserve honor. They must be supported by weeding out those who dishonor their noble profession.

Officers who live lives of character, ethics and leadership deserve the admiration of society and the respect of community, colleagues and political leaders.

The NYPD must rise to the occasion and work collaboratively with full force resolve to execute the vision of their commissioner.
Bratton must also have cooperation from the community and all elected and appointed officials. His words are a clarion call for renewal, "There are some in this organization who shouldn't be here. They're not the right fit [for] the NYPD of 2014. There are a few, very few, in a large organization who just don't get it, we will separate them out."

Bratton stated that 99% were doing the job the right way. Officers in the NYPD that do not belong must be terminated. This will give the NYPD credibility and protect the communities violated by "brutality, corruption, racism and incompetence."

NYPD Deserves World Class Training

Officers who honor the NYPD badge deserve respect and world-class training. As a response to recent concerns, the NYPD will institute a 3-day training program for 22,000 field officers.

As a community policing advocate with 20 years of experience on a national level, I applaud the NYPD's dedication to training. This training must be a model for police departments throughout America.

In my opinion, the training must demands experts from numerous disciplines aside form law enforcement and modules including:

•Community Policing
•Cultural Awareness / Diversity
•Character, Ethics, Leadership
•Cross Cultural Conflict Resolution
•De-Escalation Tactics
•Proper Use of Force
•Problem Solving
•Constitutional Policing
•Communication Skills
•Violence Prevention

Critical to the training must be a capstone project follow-up for each officer that leads to certification as well as accreditation of individuals, units and precincts. Initiatives should also include training for the highest level of the NYPD who must lead by example. There must also be related training opportunities for community members.

Transforming the NYPD

Police-Community cooperation is impossible without trust built on character, ethics and leadership. These qualities are critical not only to the NYPD but to police departments all over America.

The NYPD must be a catalyst for transformation and play a critical role in reawakening the nation by enhancing police-community cooperation.

Change will happen when toxic police officers are terminated, world-class training initiated and courtesy, professionalism and respect are truly the heartbeat of the NYPD.

Note Well
As originally published in Vincent's weekly "Reawakening the Nation" column for the Friday, Dec. 12, 2014 edition of the Epoch Times.

Photos
1. Police Commissioner Bratton, Mayor de Blasio and other officials at Dec. 4, 2014 NYPD training rollout. (Photo courtesy NYPD News)
2. NYPD Officers during the Veterans Day Parade on Fifth Avenue, Nov. 11, 2014. (Vincent J. Bove)
3. NYPD cruiser at Columbus Circle, Nov. 28, 2014. (Vincent J. Bove)
4. NYPD on post at Rockefeller Center, Dec. 5, 2014. (Vincent J. Bove)


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Friday, December 05, 2014

Building Police-Community Trust: Wake Up, America

America, we have a problem based on mistrust between the police and the people. It needs transparent honesty, moral reconciliation, and a transformative leadership at every level of the government and among every member of the community.

Realistically, unfolding events may get worse before they get better. The escalation of tensions includes continual reaction to the Ferguson tragedy and the response to the grand jury decision on the Garner death involving the NYPD.

The mistrust is deeply ingrained and counterproductive to the dynamics of effective policing as defined in the time-tested essence of police–community collaboration defined by Sir Robert Peel, the father of policing.

These two principles are the heart of Peel’s philosophy and critical to building trust, cooperation, and respect between the police and the people:

•Police use physical force to the extent necessary to secure observance of the law or to restore order only when the exercise of persuasion, advice, and warning is found to be insufficient.
•Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police.

Renewing Community Policing

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, community policing is defined as “developing partnerships between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve so they can work collaboratively to solve problems.”

For 20 years, I have been an advocate of the benefits of community policing as critical to the heart of police–community trust.

Initiatives that I have been privileged to participate include the following:

•Authoring over 90 articles and this Epoch Times column along with over 480 blog entries and my newest book that highlights the necessity of community policing
•Presentations throughout America to police, educators, government leaders, students, and community members on community policing as the heart of leadership, violence prevention, and crisis planning
•Serving as a primary instructor for a U.S. Department of Justice program that certified police rank and file and community members as community policing practitioners
•Serving the Bergen County Police Chiefs Association with monthly remarks for 12 years. Police chiefs from over 70 jurisdictions as well as FBI, NYPD, and other county, state, and federal agencies attend the meetings along with community associate members
•Organizing and serving as a speaker at hundreds of conferences, seminars, symposiums and professional development events to cultivate community policing

White House Concerns

Community policing has now entered front and center at the White House due to the need to build police–community trust.

The president has called for “sustained conversation” that enhances police–community accountability, transparency, and trust.

The president’s plan to strengthen community policing entails:

•Reforming the way the federal government equips law enforcement, particularly with military-style equipment
•Investing in the use of body-worn cameras and promoting proven community policing initiatives
•Engaging law enforcement and community leaders to devise new ways to reduce crime while building public trust

Steps to complement this plan include:

•Creating a task force to promote and expand community-oriented policing
•Expanding training for law enforcement agencies
•Adding more resources for police department reforms

Final Reflections

The events in Ferguson, New York City, and around the country have crystallized police–community trust as critical to a nation.

The nation and the world are watching. America must rise to the occasion and enhance police–community trust, collaboration, and leadership. This will only be possible when respect, diversity, and reconciliation are cultivated.

Community policing must be central to reawakening the nation. It deserves full dedication from every member of law enforcement (not just selected members assigned to a community policing unit) and from all members of every community.

Endless rhetoric, political appointees, and self-serving commissions will only be a waste of time.

America deserves action, leaders of character, and police–community cohesiveness so we may live the legacy of justice destined for our nation.

Note Well
As originally published in Vincent's weekly column titled "Reawakening the Nation" for the Friday, Dec. 5, 2014 edition of the Epoch Times.


Photos
1. NYPD officer on post at Fifth Avenue and 41st Street during the Veterans Day Parade on Nov. 11, 2014. (Vincent J. Bove)
2. NYPD at Rockefeller Center on Oct. 10, 2014. (Vincent J. Bove)
3. New York State Troopers marching along Fifth Avenue during the Veterans Day Parade on Nov. 11, 2014. (Vincent J. Bove)

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Friday, November 28, 2014

American Holidays: Time to Honor Military Sacrifices

Although rocked by a devastating Civil War, Abraham Lincoln was inspired to proclaim a national day of Thanksgiving during his administration.

On Oct. 3, 1863, Lincoln set aside the last Thursday of November “as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise.”

Lincoln’s proclamation includes a prayer for “all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers” due to the Civil War.

As America celebrates Thanksgiving and the holiday season, we must be truly grateful for the blessings upon our land. We must also exemplify mercy, empathy, and compassion to all victims of war. America must be eternally grateful to all whose sacrifices have preserved our freedoms.

Heart of the Holidays

For the past 16 years, I have been privileged to address audiences throughout America on leadership, violence prevention, and crisis planning.

At the conclusion of each presentation, I share a tribute honoring America’s military sacrifices.

America must honor our military personnel, especially those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Inspired by the proclamation of Lincoln and the natural fire of devotion in the human heart, we must forever be thankful for sacrifices and sensitive toward grieving families.

Now that we have celebrated Thanksgiving Day, we enter into the heart of a sacred time in America. As we enter into the solemn holiday season, we must pause and honor the sacrifices that enable our festivities.

Honor the Fallen

Navy Cmdr. Christopher E. Kalafut, 49, of Oceanside, Calif., died Oct. 24 at Al Udeid Air Base, Doha, Qatar, in a noncombat-related incident while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael A. Cathcart, 31, of Bay City, Mich., was a Green Beret who died on Nov. 14 in Kundoz Province, Afghanistan, of wounds caused by small-arms fire while on dismounted patrol.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Samuel C. Hairston, 35, of Houston, Texas, was assigned to 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C. Hairston died on Aug. 12 in Ghazni, Afghanistan, of injuries caused by small arms fire.

Navy Boatswain Mate Seaman Yeshabel Villot Carraso, 23, of Parma, Ohio, died as a result of nonhostile causes on June 19 aboard the destroyer James E. Williams while the ship was underway in the Red Sea.

Marine Lance Cpl. Brandon J. Garabrant, 19, of Peterborough, N.H., died while conducting combat operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

Army Capt. Jennifer M. Moreno, 25, of San Diego, assigned to Madigan Army Medical Center, died Oct. 6 in Zhari District, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when enemy forces attacked her unit with improvised explosion devices. Moreno, a nurse, gave her life trying to help a wounded soldier by running into a mine in a bomb belt rather than staying put. Moreno personifies the Soldier’s Creed, “I will never leave a fallen comrade.”

Army Sgt. 1st Class Andrew T. Weathers, 30, of DeRidder, La., assigned to 2nd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Eglin Air Force Base, Florida; died Sept. 30 at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, from wounds caused by small-arms fire Sept. 28 in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

Army Sgt. Shawn M. Farrell II, 24, of Accord, N.Y., assigned to 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light), Fort Drum, N.Y.; died April 28, in Kapisa Province, Afghanistan, of wounds caused by small-arms fire.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Roberto C. Skelt, 41, of York, Fla., assigned to 2nd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C.; died Feb. 12 in Kapisa Province, Afghanistan, of wounds caused by small-arms fire.

Final Reflections

America is as great as our honoring of all who have served, especially for those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Our country is on the path to reawakening the nation when honor is the heartbeat for those who have served and for the families who suffer from their loss.

Note Well
As originally published in Vincent's "Reawakening the Nation" column for the Friday, Nov. 29, 2014 edition of the Epoch Times.

Photos
Courtesy National Arlington Cemetery

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