Friday, October 17, 2014

Sayreville's High School Scandal: America's Wake-Up Call

America is facing a crisis of character through all facets of society.

Our character crisis is continually spotlighted with government, corporate, sports, entertainment, and even faith-based scandals.

In government, titans of influence including the former vice president’s chief of staff, governors, congressmen, and officials from every level of public service have violated positions of trust. Instead, many are now convicted felons who have been imprisoned.

The corporate world has proven that greed, self-aggrandizement, and contempt continually transform prestige to handcuffs and shackles.

Professional football players, major league baseball players, and Olympians have betrayed the public’s admiration by cheating, crimes, and misconduct.

The star-studded red carpets of Hollywood headline idolized careers continually destroyed by addictions.

A massive and pervasive character crisis has even tainted the hallowed halls of faith-based communities with sins, crimes, and cover-ups that make all of nature blush.

Sayreville’s Character Crisis
The youth of America are not immune to our crisis of character.

At Sayreville War Memorial High School in New Jersey, a scandal has recently paralyzed the community and wreaked havoc on many lives. The sobering realities of this scandal include:

•Arrests of seven high school football players on aggravated sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual contact, conspiracy, criminal restraint, and hazing charges. There is a strong possibility these teens will be tried as adults and imprisonment is a possibility
•The seven students have been suspended from school and college athletic scholarships are being lost
•Brokenness in the lives of victims and in the entire community. Additional concerns include on-going harassment, long-term therapy, family conflicts, and ostracizing the victims and their families—who should be treated as heroes for their moral courage—by the community and fellow students
•Failure of the entire community concerning character development and the lack of supervisory and leadership skills by the football team coaching staff
•The cancellation of the team’s football season that also has negative ramifications on innocent players, cheerleaders, students, and the entire Sayreville community. The suspension may also be extended beyond the current season
•The embarrassing reinforcement to American education that bullying, hazing, and a lack of values is a reality. Tragically, character education often takes a back row to athletic accomplishments at schools and campuses nationwide.
•Extreme challenges for normalcy and healing at the school due to a barrage of national media coverage

Be a Person of Character
Although I have been privileged to address many assemblies. My signature presentation for students, “Be a Person of Character: Change the World,” carries the paramount message.

During this presentation, I ask students to take a journey with me. A candid picture of societal challenges is painted:

•Our Character Crisis
•Negative Behavior and Consequences
•Broken Families
•The Gang Mentality
•America’s “Get High” Society

We then move from challenges to the power of character accentuating examples of positive behavior of America’s youth to inspire these qualities:

•Greatness through Sacrifice
•Living a Life of Ethical Dignity
•Kindness, Respect, Civility, Compassion
•Community Building
•Bringing Out the Best in Others
•Helping Others Do What Is Right

Developing Citizens of Character
America’s character crisis did not happen overnight. It will take generations to transform our nation and we must begin now with full-force dedication through our schools.

Our youth must light the torch of character and keep the flame burning bright. Their energy, enthusiasm, and generosity will build a better world. The crisis of character may have its day. But in due time, the character of our youth will lift the nation.
The youth of our nation are a priceless treasure and deserve encouragement. Their families, communities, and nation entrust them with America’s future. They deserve good example and guidance to ignite a renewal of character within America.

Eyes on America’s Future
At times it can seem that the future is bleak when bombarded by one crisis after another. But America’s future is bright because of the potential of our youth. The positive influence of families and community must ignite the power of character within each of them and inspire their mission to reawakening the nation.

As originally published in Vincent's weekly column titled "Reawakening the Nation" in the Friday, Oct. 17, 2014 edition of the Epoch Times.

Photos
1. Vincent addressing FBI agents and supervisors as keynote speaker for the Newark Division Management retreat on Sept. 17, 2014. Vincent encouraged the FBI to enhance character education initiatives for schools through their community outreach. (Courtesy FBI)
2. Middle school students at Washington School in Union City, N.J., listen to Vincent’s signature presentation “Be a Person of Character: Change the World” on Feb. 27, 2008. (Vincent J. Bove)
3. Vincent J. Bove at the United States Military Academy, West Point, with attendees of his “Be a Person of Character: Change the World,” keynote on April 3, 2009. All attendees received copies of his latest book titled “Listen To Their Cries” through the generosity of Fairleigh Dickinson University. (Vincent Bove Publishing)
4. Over 800 students and family members prior at Vincent Bove's keynote titled: “Be a Person of Character: Change the World,” on March 8, 2014. The event was held by Monmouth University to recognize their National Honor Society inductees. All inductees received copies of “Listen To Their Cries” through the generosity of the university. (Vincent J. Bove)

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Transforming the NYPD: Terminating Toxic Police Officers

There are priceless lessons the NYPD—and every police department—can learn from the ideals of the United States Military Academy, commonly referred to as West Point.

Essentially, the mission of West Point is to educate, train, and inspire leaders of character, ethics, and moral courage.

These principles are pivotal to the values of duty, honor, and country, which are the heart of a United States Army officer.

These ideals have inspired my work at numerous West Point initiatives, including the National Conference on Ethics in America.

More recently, I have been privileged to address law enforcement officials along with Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr., Superintendent of West Point.

One event was the inaugural New Jersey Conference: Character, Ethics, Leadership. The event at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey was filled to capacity with law enforcement officials.

Another event was an FBI leadership retreat that included representatives from every office of the Newark Field Office.

During our presentations, character, ethics, leadership, and moral courage were highlighted by both Gen. Caslen and me as essential to the development of military and police officers.

NYPD: Developing Leaders of Character
High ethical standards are critical to all who seek to protect and serve society, both in military and police professions.

For instance, the West Point Honor Code states, “A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.”

Similarly an NYPD officer must also adhere to ethical principles including respect, honesty, diversity, and dedication to duty.

These principles are particularly critical to the NYPD based on contemporary issues articulated by Commissioner William J. Bratton during a recent retreat of over 800 top department executives.

In his customary transparent honesty, Bratton addressed the small percentage of NYPD officers who are “poisoning the well” and needed to be weeded out.

“My intention going forward is to ensure that we will aggressively seek to get those out of the department who should not be there—the brutal, the corrupt, the racist, the incompetent …

“They are poisoning the well, and the trust that we deserve and the trust that we need is eroded by some of their actions” Bratton said.

Disturbing Unethical NYPD Videos
The heart of sound law enforcement philosophy is based on the rock-solid Nine Principles of Policing by Sir Robert Peel.

These principles are summarized by the saying “the police and the people are one” and the thought that effective policing mandates “pubic approval of police existence, actions and behavior.”

Contravening ethical behavior and detrimental to police–people collaboration was a video montage shared at the retreat that substantiated Bratton’s concerns. The video titled “What would you do?” clearly depicted unethical NYPD behavior, including the following:
•An officer kicking a vendor while the man was on the ground after other officers had already subdued and cuffed him
•An officer demonstrating disturbing physical aggression against a five-month-pregnant woman in Brooklyn
•Two Bronx cops—subsequently convicted—punching and kicking a 17-year-old in an alley
•A rookie cop body-slamming an innocent passing bicyclist at a Times Square rally in 2008

West Point–NYPD Parallels
There is no place for aspiring U.S. Army officers who dishonor the ethics of the West Point Honor Code. The honorable service in America’s military demands leaders of character, ethics, and moral courage.

Policing is also an honorable, admirable, and ethical profession. There is no place for any officer—poignantly articulated by Bratton—who is “so callous, so brutal, so corrupt that they feel comfortable engaging in those acts of brutality and acts of corruption without fear.”

Character, ethics, leadership, and moral courage must be the heart of all at West Point and the NYPD. These principles are essential for protecting the nation, enhancing police-public collaboration, and ultimately reawakening the nation.

Note Well
As originally published in Vincent's weekly column titled "Reawakening the Nation" for the Epoch Times on Friday, Oct. 10, 2014.

Photos
1. NYPD at Times Square on Sept. 21, 2014 (Vincent J. Bove)
2. Lieutenant General Robert L. Caslen, Jr. delivering the keynote at The Inaugural New Jersey Conference: Character, Ethics, Leadership. The event, held at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey on May 12, 2014 was filled to capacity with 250 law enforcement professionals. (Vincent J. Bove)
3. NYPD Commissioner William J. Bratton (Allen Xie / Epoch Times)
4. NYPD Cruiser at 59th Street in NYC on Sept. 21, 2014. (Vincent J. Bove)
5. Lieutenant General Robert L. Caslen, Jr. and the author Vincent J. Bove at The Inaugural New Jersey Conference: Character, Ethics, Leadership on May 12, 2014. Caslen and Bove were speakers at the event hosted by The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. (Photo Courtesy Vincent J. Bove Publishing)

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Friday, October 03, 2014

Active Shooter Incidents Increasing: FBI Study Demands Vigilance

According to a newly released FBI study, mass shootings are occurring more frequently in recent years—nearly one incident every month during 2000–2013.

The study highlights 160 incidents, with 486 fatalities and 557 wounded, during this timespan.

These shootings are called “active shooter incidents,” which are described as individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in populated areas.

Major Active Shooter Findings
“A Study of Active Shooter Incidents in the United States Between 2000–2013″ on the FBI website includes the following incidents:
• Virginia Tech
• Sandy Hook Elementary School
• U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
• Fort Hood
• Aurora, Colorado Movie Theater
• Sikh Temple of Wisconsin
• Washington Navy Yard

Some key findings include:
• Incidents increasing from 6.4 annually from the first years of the study to 16.4.
• Incidents resulted in 1,043 casualties (486 killed, 557 wounded) excluding the shooters.
• All but 6 of the 160 incidents involved male shooters and only two had more than one shooter.
• More than half of the incidents—90 shootings—ended on the shooter’s initiative (that is, suicide or fleeing).
• Nine police officers were killed and 28 were wounded in 21 of the 45 incidents where they engaged the shooter to neutralize the threat.
• The largest percentage of incidents took place in a commercial environment (73 incidents) followed by educational settings (39 incidents).

Virginia Tech Tragedy
Since I served families of Virginia Tech victims as a spokesman, I would like to honor the April 16, 2007, victims with insights in hopes that additional incidents can be prevented.

Here is an assessment from an early-warning and crisis-management perspective:

Pre-Crisis Failures
• Failure to respond to reported warning signs of a very troubled student that could have prevented the tragedy.
• Lack of a threat assessment team at Virginia Tech.
• No “heightened alert” during the anniversary week of the Columbine tragedy.
• Insufficient security measures, crisis plans, protocols, and procedures.
• Inadequate preparedness practice and drills.

Crisis Failures
• The Virginia Tech police chief and leadership team were not immediately notified of the first killings—there were critical communication delays.
• Failure to clearly notify the campus community that killings had taken place once Virginia Tech’s president was notified.
• Failure to lockdown the campus with a killer at large after the first incident. This could have prevented numerous other killings and injuries.

Post-Crisis Failures
• Continual denials by Virginia Tech President Steger of his and the leadership team’s failures.
• Immediate movement into a fundraising mode while ignoring the needs of victims and families.
• Setting up a website to defend the Virginia Tech president within three days while the victim support website took four months.

Failure of Leadership
In my opinion, it is inconceivable that two students were killed on a college campus during the week of the anniversary date of Columbine, and that—with a killer at large— there was no immediate notification to the community, nor was there a lockdown.

It is also inexcusable that proper decisions were not made to prevent the 30 killings and multiple injuries that occurred over two hours later.

The Virginia Tech president and policy group failed to protect their community. The fact was that two students had been killed and the killer was at large.

The U.S. Department of Education insights in its publication “Practical Information on Crisis Planning: A Guide for Schools and Communities” were not heeded, including the following: “Evacuate or lock down the school as appropriate. This step is crucial and should be one of the first decisions made, regardless of the order in which initial decisions are implemented.”

Call for Vigilance
In an age of increased active shooter incidents—compounded by the possibility of a Mumbai-style terrorist incident—all of us in both law enforcement and private sectors must enhance vigilance to safeguard America and reawaken the nation.

Note Well
As originally published in Vincent's weekly column titled "Reawaken the Nation" for the Epoch Times on Friday, Oct. 3, 2014.


Photos
1. A carved-wood ‘VT’ rests on the grave of Virginia Tech University student Jarrett Lane in Narrows, Va., on May 13, 2007. Lane, a 22-year-old senior, was killed along with 26 other students and 5 University staff members during a shooting rampage the previous month. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
2. “A Study of Active Shooter Incidents in the United States Between 2000–2013” released by the FBI on Sept. 16, 2014. (Courtesy FBI)
3. Vincent J. Bove speaking on behalf of the families of the Virginia Tech victims at a meeting with the Virginia governor on June 23, 2007.
4. Cover of the Vincent J. Bove October, 2007 report titled "Crisis of Leadership: A Response to the Virginia Tech Panel Report"
5. FBI bomb technician’s vehicle. (Courtesy FBI)

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Friday, September 26, 2014

The FBI: Honor, Leadership, Protecting America

As the United States of America—with allies against militant extremists—strikes targets in Iraq and Syria, all in America must remain vigilant here in our homeland.

Vigilance is critical to protecting America as the current state of affairs includes extremists calling for attacks against civilians and soft targets. Security concerns are intensified and all who love America, freedom, democracy, and liberty must collaborate to safeguard the nation.

Citizens and law enforcement all must have our eyes wide open to potential dangers that threaten innocent people and our way of life. We must never take for granted the privileges of a dinner out, a trip to visit loved ones, or a day with coworkers—life can change in a heartbeat. An abundance of caution is the order of the day—suspicious activities must immediately be reported to authorities. We must expect the unexpected and remain vigilant.

Apathy, indifference, or negligence with respect to current events is not acceptable. Acts of terror are preventable. Innocent lives, as well as the morale of America are at stake. There is no room for failure, for even one act of terror can be catastrophic and every life is sacred. The world has changed and all of us must have a terrorism awareness and prevention mindset.

As the darkness of evil intentions unfolds, America must remain vigilant, collaborative, and courageous.

The FBI: Protecting America
The top priority of the FBI is protecting America from terrorist attacks. This mission is only possible through collaboration with law enforcement partners nationally and worldwide.

Extremist networks, lone wolfs, and terrorist sympathizers can be neutralized and dismantled through the investigative and intelligence resources of the FBI. But this is only possible with public-private collaboration.

As documented on the FBI website, the scope of FBI operations and collaborative efforts includes:
•Joint Terrorism Task Forces
•National Counterterrorism Center
•Public Internet Tip Line
•Terrorist Explosives Device Analytical Center
•Terrorist Screening Center
•Weapons of Mass Destruction
•Strategic Command Center
•Terrorist Financing Operations Section
•Terrorism Fly Team

FBI Model: Leadership Retreat
In my travels throughout America since 1999, I have highlighted leadership, vigilance, and collaboration as central to my mission of character development, violence prevention, and crisis planning.

These principles have been shared at hundreds of presentations and with many published works and FBI initiatives.

But in my opinion, the seriousness of what these principles signify has never been so important as at this very moment in America’s history.

On Sept. 17, I was privileged to conduct a keynote for the FBI Newark Division Management Retreat. This retreat was made possible through the leadership of the division’s Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford.

Aside from the remarkable motivational and educational aspects of the event, this retreat is a model not only for other FBI divisions but also for all law enforcement agencies as it builds leadership, morale, and partnerships.

During my keynote speech, “The FBI: Honor, Leadership, America,” I used the metaphor of a catastrophic head-on collision train wreck to punctuate the nation’s crisis of leadership and culture of violence. As highlighted with a graphic slide presentation, this violence includes not only domestic, school, and workplace violence, but also acts of terror as demonstrated by the 9/11 and Boston Marathon attacks.

My keynote followed a patriotic leadership presentation by Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr., superintendent of West Point. Caslen highlighted that the “Duty, Honor, Country” motto of the United States Military Academy was applicable to all because throughout the nation, even in the military, there is a crisis of leadership. I complemented Caslen’s thoughts by encouraging the FBI to live the principles of “Honor, Leadership, America.”

The FBI and all dedicated to protecting America must be appreciated and their efforts supported. Each of us must work collaboratively and continually enhance our own level of vigilance to protect our homeland and reawaken the nation.

Testimonial
Dear Vincent, It is with the warmest regards that I express my thanks for your support of the Newark Division's Management Conference. Your participation in the Management Conference on September 17, 2014 was a true pleasure. You provided insights to help Newark Division supervisors to develop and challenge themselves as employees and as leaders within the FBI. Your observations were particularly insightful due to your highly decorated career and your intimate knowledge of our staff.
Aaron T. Ford, Special Agent in Charge

Note Well
As originally published in Vincent's weekly column titled "Reawaken the Nation" for the Epoch Times on Friday, Sept. 26, 2014.

Photos
1. FBI SWAT team member (Courtesy FBI)
2. FBI Evidence Response Team Vehicle (Courtesy FBI)
3. FBI weapons training (Courtesy FBI)
4. Vincent J. Bove receiving award from Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford of the Newark Division on Sept. 17, 2014. Bove was the keynote speaker at the division’s leadership retreat. (Photo Courtesy FBI)
5. Vincent J. Bove receiving the FBI Community Leadership Award for his violence prevention initiatives on Oct. 30, 2007. Afterwards, Bove addressed over 200 FBI and law enforcement officials. Bove is accompanied by local, county, and federal law enforcement officials. (Courtesy Vincent J. Bove)

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Friday, September 19, 2014

NYPD Culture Shift: Enhancing Community Partnerships

The culture is about to change for the NYPD, but first we must take time to commend acts of officer heroism.

The following example headlines—representing a few incidents among countless ones that never receive press coverage—give perspective and remind us of the courage, dedication, and professionalism of ethical protectors who wear the NYPD badge:

• Sept. 14—Video shows NYPD rescue of stranded jet skier from a small island off Staten Island’s east shore
• Sept. 12—NYPD protects teen from committing suicide off Brooklyn Bridge
• Sept. 7—NYPD Harbor Unit rescues teen stranded on rocks off Coney Island
• Sept. 7—Officers witness Brooklyn shooting, arrest suspect
• Sept. 5—NYPD helicopter rescues man who had heart attack
• Aug. 26—NYPD officer rescues Bronx baby girl with CPR
• Aug. 25—2 NYPD officers come to rescue of baby not breathing in Brooklyn
• Jul. 30—NYPD detective wounded in West Village shootout with accused child molester

Aside from these heroics, the inherent challenges to NYPD officers also deserve appreciation. These headlines remind us of the dangers our police officers face each day:

• Sept. 11—NYPD cop in serious condition after responding to fire
• Sept. 11—NYPD, Port Authority honor members lost in 9/11 attacks
• Sept. 3—NYPD sergeant mourned after dying from 9/11-related cancer
• Aug. 31—NYPD officer grazed by bullet in shooting
• Aug. 30—3 NYPD officers hurt by thrown objects from rooftop
• Aug. 3—Assaults on the NYPD are on the rise
• Apr. 9—NYPD officer dies after Coney Island arson
• Jul. 28—2 U.S. marshals, NYPD detective shot in West Village

NYPD Commissioner’s Vision
On Sept. 8, NYPD Commissioner William J. Bratton appeared before New York City Council. Bratton, in his completely transparent trademark style, acknowledged the need for a fundamental transformation with the NYPD.

The commissioner stated the NYPD is “committed to constitutional and respectful policing.” Bratton also emphasized that the NYPD must change from “an overarching focus on police activity, as measured in the number of stops, summonses, and arrests, to an emphasis on problem solving in the community.”

Bratton continued with plans to re-educate all 35,000 officers with negotiating skills, leadership techniques, Sir Robert Peel’s policing principles, diversity, crime prevention, and building respect with the community.

Bratton will begin with a pilot program that includes use-of-force training. This is a direct response to the Staten Island tragedy of an unarmed man selling loose cigarettes who died while being taken into custody. The man’s death was ruled a homicide by the medical examiner.

An officer’s training in the academy at the beginning of one’s career must never stand alone. Effective training requires ongoing programs, testing, and evaluations throughout a career.

In my opinion, credible and effective training must also include expertise from numerous disciplines outside law enforcement, certifications, and accreditation of precincts and units based on stringent requirements.

NYPD: Rise to the Occasion
As an educator who has conducted ethics, leadership, and policing presentations for law enforcement nationwide, I commend Bratton for his dedication to transformational change of the world’s most renowned police department. The commissioner’s vision to change NYPD culture from an overshadowing, statistically driven department to an ethically oriented and community-focused one is praiseworthy. It is the right step at the perfect time in the right direction.

Dedication to this police-people collaboration deserves full-force dedication of all members of the NYPD and community.

The ethical dimension of law enforcement is critical and must be the heart of every police officer. The NYPD will be organizationally transformative with building trust in communities when ethical development, accountability, and transparency are the heart of training initiatives.

The results of the NYPD vision will be a high performance department that cultivates integrity, integrates public safety with citizen rights; enhances crime prevention, diversity, and mutual trust; and showcases the NYPD as a police-community model for reawakening the nation.

Reawakening the Nation
As printed in Vincent's weekly column titled "Reawakening the Nation" in the Epoch Times on Friday, Sept. 19, 2014.

Photos
1.NYPD at Penn Station on Aug. 20, 2014. (Vincent J. Bove)
2.NYPD at the New York Stock Exchange on Sept. 10, 2014. (Vincent J. Bove)
3.NYPD in Times Square on Aug. 23, 2014. (Vincent J. Bove)
4.NYPD on patrol in Central Park on Aug. 30, 2014. (Vincent J. Bove)
5.NYPD at Lincoln Center on Aug. 30, 2014. (Vincent J. Bove)

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Friday, September 12, 2014

America’s Leadership Crisis: Reigniting Our Character

America must pause and honestly assess our leadership crisis.

Throughout every facet of society—corporate, government, sports, entertainment, and even faith-based communities—we see alarming stories of scandal and corruption.

America is privileged to have democracy, prosperity, and cherished freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.

But, character must be the center of our privileges and freedoms. Character must be the heartbeat of the nation.

We must heed the words attributed to Thomas Jefferson, one of our Founding Fathers:

“Yes, we did produce a near perfect republic. But will they keep it? Or will they, in the enjoyment of plenty, lose the memory of freedom? Material abundance without character is the path of destruction.”

“The decline and fall of the Roman Empire” has become an iconic phrase. Many attribute the fall to the decline of morals, values, and character.

America must learn from the demise of the Roman Empire and not allow history to repeat itself. Our nation must rise to heights of greatness with character as our foundation.

Recent Scandals
On Sept. 4, a jury returned guilty verdicts against former Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell and former first lady Maureen G. McDonnell.

Robert McDonnell was convicted of 11 of 13 counts and Maureen McDonnell was convicted of 9 of 13 counts. These included honest services wire fraud, obtaining property under color of official right, and obstruction of an official proceeding.

“Robert McDonnell and his wife turned public service into a money-making enterprise, abusing the commonwealth’s highest office to benefit a Virginia businessman in exchange for more than $170,000 in gifts and loans,” said assistant Attorney General Caldwell.

In the sports world, a time of reckoning scorched the NFL after release of two separate videotapes of Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice.

In the first video, Rice manhandles his fiancée by pulling her limp, unconscious body off an Atlantic City elevator.

In the second video, Rice viciously knocks her unconscious in the elevator with a full force punch to the head.

The scandal is not only related to Rice’s sickening and callous crime but it also demands accountability from the NFL commissioner and a prosecutor.

These are only two recent examples of the crisis of character taking place throughout the nation.

The sports scandal follows years of NFL player arrests. These include domestic violence, aggravated assault, resisting arrest, DWI, disorderly conduct, unlawful possession of a firearm, burglary, drug possession, and murder. By now one would think that “zero tolerance” is more than a catch phrase.

Public corruption has been a serious problem and a fundamental threat to America’s security and way of life. It includes bribery, witness tampering, illegal kickbacks, extortion, fraud, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and election crimes.

Abraham Lincoln: Model of Character
America has been temporarily derailed from the character we are destined for.

It has taken generations for us to get to this point and it will take time to get back on track.

This is why character education must be paramount in our schools. The heart of the nation must be resuscitated by character. We must give hope to our future through our youth.

Character must be reignited in America and we must do so in every facet of society, especially through our schools and colleges.

Abraham Lincoln is the pre-eminent representative of America’s character.

As one studies Lincoln’s actions, speeches, and writings, as well as personal accounts from those who knew him, inspiration is ignited for the nation.

Lincoln is the paragon of a great American, one who made the decision to serve with full realization that decisions must always be grounded without reservation with character and in moral responsibility.

Photo
Janay Rice (L) and her husband, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, speak to the media during a news conference in Owings Mills, Md., on May 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Blog is Vincent's column titled "Reawakening the Nation" from the Friday, Sept. 12, 2014 edition of the Epoch Times.

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Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Honor 9/11: Solemnity, Vigilance, America

As the nation pauses on Patriot Day, Thursday, September 11, 2014—the thirteenth anniversary of the day that changed America forever—it is necessary to honor the fallen, their loved ones, and the heroes who served and continue to serve and to do so eternally. The remembrance of 9/11 also compels us to transform the nation.

The victims from the World Trade Center, Flight 11, Flight 175, Flight 77, Flight 93 and the Pentagon will forever remind us of that fateful day. All across America—in our churches, synagogues, mosques, communities, homes and hearts—we must pray for the repose of their souls and for peace in the hearts of their families and friends. We must also remain vigilant and rededicate ourselves to the virtues inspired by the tragedy: patriotism, compassion and perseverance.

The anniversary of 9/11 also inspires the nation to honor the countless heroes who served victims and their loved ones. These heroes, many whom are unsung, represent the best in all of us and rose to the occasion from every imaginable profession, nationality, religion and ethnicity. America is forever grateful for these dedicated men and women and their tireless service to the community.

May we rise together from the trials and tragedy of that day and commit to a new era of renewal and triumph in our great land.

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Friday, September 05, 2014

NFL Domestic Violence Scandal: Time for Action

Domestic violence is in the national spotlight due to the National Football League scandal.

In short, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell demonstrated a flagrant lack of judgment when he handed a star player a two-game suspension for a disturbing domestic violence incident. The incident was captured on video and showed the player manhandling his unconscious fiancée off an Atlantic City casino elevator.

The commissioner later modified the NFL policy after public outrage on the video that went viral.

Domestic Violence Statistics
Statistics found on the Partnership Against Domestic Violence website include these:

•Nearly 5.3 million incidents occur each year among U.S. women ages 18 and older. This violence results in nearly 2 million injuries and nearly 1,300 deaths.
•One in four women experience domestic violence in their lifetime.
•On average, more than three women a day are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in the United States.
•15.5 million children in the United States live in families in which domestic violence occurred at least once in the past year. Seven million children live in families in which severe partner violence occurred.
•One in three teenagers report knowing a friend or peer who has been hit, punched, kicked, slapped, choked, or physically hurt by their partner.
One Life
With domestic violence initiatives, I always call for ethical courage. Society must do everything possible to prevent and assist all afflicted by the scourge of domestic violence.

If our awareness, planning, and action, as either an individual, corporation, law enforcement agency, or community organization, can save even one person from suffering, then we must do all we can to prevent a tragedy.

When it comes to even one life, we must do what is morally right, not what is convenient, politically expedient, publicity seeking, or cost-effective.

In simplest terms, we must learn to care for one another.

Domestic Violence at the Workplace
Aside from concerns in families and communities, domestic violence is also an issue at work. It involves behaviors that interfere with an individual’s ability to perform. Problems include harassing, repeated telephone calls, text messages, and emails, unauthorized appearances at work, restraining order violations, assaults, and even homicide.

Domestic violence not only endangers the abused employee but can also be an endangerment to the entire workforce.

These issues can also place a liability on employers who do not take reasonable measures to safeguard employees. Yet employers have more than a legal concern to prevent domestic violence. Each of us has a moral obligation to prevent and alleviate human suffering.

To this end, an objective assessment of the company’s culture (including policies, procedures, training, employee assistance, and professional development) must be a top priority. Training must be comprehensive and include ethics, the cycle of violence, policies, procedures, law enforcement issues, and warning signs.

Warning Signs
It is difficult to know what is happening in a coworker’s personal life, however these are some warning signs developed by www.helpguide.org:
•Frequent injuries with the excuse of accidents
•Frequent and sudden absences
•Fear of the partner
•References to the partner’s anger
•Personality changes, including social withdrawal
•Excessive fear of conflict
•Inordinate submissive behavior
•Isolation from others
•Insufficient financial resources due to the partner’s control
•Depression, low self-esteem, crying

Knowing and responding to warning signs is the first step in creating a supportive workplace with employees who care.

A Collaborative Response
A unity of effort is necessary for a safe workplace including the employer, employees, law enforcement, security, human resources, and employee assistance.

Victims of domestic violence often need our help. We must respond and give them hope. Sometimes this is best expressed through a simple question, “Are you safe at home?”

Each of us must have the courage to listen, care, and respond with ethical courage to the answer.

As published in Vincent's weekly "Reawakening the Nation" column in the Friday, Sept.5,2014 edition of the Epoch Times.

Photo
Kacey Mason (C) delivers remarks with her mother Merry Jackson (L), 63, and her husband Dave Mason during a news conference announcing new domestic violence legislation at the U.S. Capitol on July 29, 2014. Merry Jackson was shot and seriously injured and her daughter, Lori Gellatly, 32, was killed when Gallatly’s estranged husband broke into the Jackson’s home and shot them both. The Masons are now caring for Gellatly’s 1-year-old twins. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)


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Monday, September 01, 2014

Policing in America: Protect, Respect, Community

During a walk through Times Square on a recent Saturday evening, I was greatly impressed with expressions of respect and vigilance by members of the NYPD.

Assigned to the crossroads of the world, the NYPD serves not only New Yorkers but also visitors from throughout America and the world.

The NYPD officers also reflected diversity, one of the great treasures of American society. Diversity within the rank and file is priceless to police departments and the communities they protect and serve.

Staten Island Protest
Earlier on that Saturday, I followed coverage of NYPD officers assigned to the march of over 2,500 people through Staten Island to protest the death of a man being taken into police custody on July 17.

Despite the controversy of this tragedy, the service of the NYPD—as well as the orderliness of the protesters—was honorable. The event respected police–community dynamics highlighted by Sir Robert Peel, the father of modern policing:

“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 …”

During the protest, dozens of NYPD officers were present in soft-style uniforms consisting of polo shirts, pants, and baseball hats. Although some were also present in the traditional NYPD formal blue uniforms, there was no riot gear and there were no arrests.

America’s Violence Culture
America is experiencing challenging times due to incidents of violence in communities, schools, workplaces, military bases, and even places of worship.

Compounding horrific incidents such as Columbine and Newtown that have received international attention, headlines throughout the nation continually present an alarming commentary on violence. These are only some during the month of August:
•Aug. 25—LAPD Warns Public to Remain Vigilant After String of Shootings Kills 3
•Aug. 24—5 People Shot, 2 Killed While Going to Church, LAPD Seeks SUV Driver
•Aug. 25—Soldier Dead After Shooting Incident at Fort Lee, Army Says
•Aug. 24—Three People Shot Outside Spotsylvania Restaurant
•Aug. 23—Deadly Square: 43 People Shot in Miami’s Liberty Square in 2014
•Aug. 22—Newark Shooting: Fourth Homicide in as Many Days
•Aug. 18—21 Hurt, 2 Killed in Weekend Violence in NYC
•Aug. 18—7 Killed, 29 Wounded in Spate of Weekend Chicago Violence
•Aug. 17—4 Shot, 1 Dead in NJ Violence
•Aug. 2—3-Year-Old Girl Killed, 3 Others Shot in Philly

Police are also victims of violence. On Aug. 24, a Texas police chief was shot to death during a traffic stop that went awry.

Violence affects the people and the police. All of us must work together to turn the tide.

Protect, Respect, Community
For many years, I have been privileged to participate with numerous leadership initiatives with the United States Military Academy at West Point.

The three words of World War II Gen. Douglas MacArthur are the heart of West Point: “Duty, Honor, Country.” These are ideals for all who aspire to serve our nation as U.S. Army officers. These are also inspiring ideals for all who love America.

Our nation is experiencing critical times due to our violent culture and the civil unrest that recently took place in Ferguson. Violence in America may increase before it gets better, and additional civil unrest anywhere in the nation is always a possibility.

Therefore, we must appreciate police officers who are dedicated to protecting our communities and work together in a spirit of collaboration. The police cannot transform communities without the people and the people cannot do so without the police.

As “Duty, Honor, Country” inspires West Point, let us encourage and appreciate every police officer committed to a pressing need of American society, “Protect, Respect, Community.”

The police officer in collaboration with law-abiding citizens is pivotal to reawakening the nation. Let “Protect, Respect, Community” be the heart of their creed and also seared into the soul of each member of every community.

As published in Vincent's weekly column titled "Reawakening the Nation" for the Epoch Times Friday, Aug. 29, 2014 edition.

Photos
1. NYPD posing with children in Times Square, Aug.23, 2014 (Vincent J. Bove)
2. NYPD in Times Square, Aug. 23, 2014 (Vincent J. Bove)
3. NYPD assisting visitor in Times Square, Aug. 23, 2014 (Vincent J. Bove)

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Ferguson's People-Police Chaos: America's Warning

Ferguson, Mo., has ignited with intense civil unrest and is now in the national spotlight for all the wrong reasons.

The chaos began after an unarmed man was shot dead by a police officer. This incident is now the flashpoint challenging the dynamics of time-tested police–community relations based on Sir Robert Peel’s principles.

Peel’s nine principles define the heart of effective policing as a mutual and respectful cooperation between the people and the police. These two principles are essential to events unfolding in Ferguson:
•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.

Ferguson must be a warning to communities throughout America of the criticality of forged people–police partnerships. The civil unrest there can easily recur in other communities especially when there are misunderstandings, tensions, or distrust between people and the police.

America must exercise leadership, vigilance, and collaboration to prevent additional, senseless turmoil and suffering.

Ferguson Overview
Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager was shot and killed on Aug. 9 by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson. Conflicting accounts of the incident are in dispute and under investigation.

A preliminary private autopsy report requested by the family shows Brown was shot six times.

Protests have included peaceful demonstrators but also looting, firebombs, gunfire, and vandalism. Authorities have responded with tear gas, rubber bullets, arrests, militarized vehicles, and a curfew.

Gov. Jay Nixon has deployed the National Guard to assist with restoring peace and maintaining law and order.

Ferguson’s leadership and police department are predominately white. There are 53 commissioned officers on the police force; three are black.

According to the 2010 census information on the official Ferguson website, there are 21,203 residents, of which 14,297 are black, 6,206 are white, and 260 are Hispanic or Latino.

There is a high unemployment rate in the city with an alarming number of residents living in poverty.

Ferguson’s Restoration
Cooperation between the people and police must be enhanced in Ferguson to restore the community. Mechanisms for cooperation include the following:
•Speedy release of accurate, unbiased, and pertinent information by a law enforcement spokesperson respected by the people. A measured intervention based on competent, verifiable, and authorized investigative findings must also swiftly take place.
•Partnerships with civic, religious, and educational leaders
•Collaboration of the numerous law enforcement agencies and the National Guard with one another and the community
•Assessment of the appropriateness and effectiveness of military-style vehicles into the community
•Transparent communication between the authorities and the people with assurances of commitment to enhance community relations by assessing police and community affairs
•Channels for the people to safely exercise their constitutional rights to peaceably assemble
•Apprehension and prosecution to the fullest extent of the law of criminals and gang members who seek to exploit the tragedy
•Responsibility of the media covering events that assists to quell the unrest and not sensationalize the violence
•Review of law enforcement hiring, training, and certification programs including collaborative policing as well as body camera and dash cam policies
•Review of all interagency emergency preparedness initiatives on the city, county, state, and federal levels
•Assessment of the police department’s community relations, diversity, and school resource officer initiatives
•Assessment of all gang awareness, prevention, and intervention programs
•Review of the commitment to character education initiatives throughout all city schools

America must be fully dedicated to reawakening the nation by working together to enhance and forge partnerships between the people and the police.

We must also commit ourselves to revitalizing economic issues as the financial decay that compounded the crisis in Ferguson is also a concern in communities throughout the country.

As published in Vincent's weekly "Reawakening the Nation" column for the Epoch Times on Friday, Aug. 22, 2014.

Photo's
1. Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson speaks to media on West Florissant Ave. in Ferguson, Mo., on Aug. 19, 2014. (Michael B. Thomas/AFP/Getty Images)
2. NYPD community affairs preparing for a youth event in Central Park on Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014. The event was organized by Patrol Borough Manhattan North. (Vincent J. Bove)

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