officers are held accountable and/or held to a higher standard,
or we “cut them some slack,” as your article suggests [“Who’s
Policing the Police?,” May 5], can only be determined on a
case-by-case basis. Yes, there should be better oversight
and a broader look at persistent problems; but overall, we
can be proud of a city that has a relatively low crime rate,
and a department that solves crimes quickly and seems to do
so well. At least that is my perception.
Does the media play a role in perception? Absolutely. Does
the department play a role in public perception? Absolutely.
The mayor and the DA’s office do as well. As does the public,
which seems to relish rumors and scandal. Maybe we’re all
watching too much reality TV. Maybe we expect too much from
human beings who do extremely stressful work.
Does the APD have an “us and them” attitude? Largely, yes;
but no one can deny real progress over the years in terms
of diversifying and trying to clean up their act and their
We have to tender your article with the knowledge that while
most of this was occurring, a very different DA was in charge.
And when the leadership was from the “old school” of policing.
I suspect things will change now and will leave the cause
to your imagination because I know how much Albanians love
to speculate! It’s a fun town!
In a town where power corrupts and political control rules,
we should not be surprised at some of these incidents. But
let’s stop talking perception and talk perspective. Is the
APD the first organization to take advantage of loosely written
rules about how money should be spent? Not. Are they the first
or only organization (public or private) to give “atta-boy”
days to employees? Not. If and when officers are guilty of
misconduct must the consequences be made public? No! As individuals
and employees they have a right to a certain level of confidentiality.
Just because you’re a public employee doesn’t mean you have
to live under a microscope. Not many of us would survive such
scrutiny, nor should we welcome, condone, or tolerate it.
Some of these incidents are worse than others. Some require
policy change and better oversight, some require criminal
charges and punishment. Who gets to decide? That’s the question.
Clearly, though, you cannot “police” your own.
Killed the Rodeo Star
read John Dicker’s book review of Chasing the Rodeo
[“Papa Was a Rodeo,” Books, May 5]. I have an answer to Dicker’s
curiosity of why the rodeo has become “marginal” in modern
day society. The reason is because many Americans do not believe
that seeing animals beaten and abused is a fun way to spend
their time. Rodeos may have originated from contests of skill,
however the shows of today are a mere act designed to make
“cowboys” look brave. The animals are supposed to be wild,
but in actuality these men use electric prods, spurs and tight
straps to force otherwise tame and docile animals to buck
and run. They are repeatedly pulled down, slammed into the
ground and jumped on. Calf roping is one of the very worst
rodeo activities, as baby cows have their necks snapped back
while running, again and again. Assuming rodeo animals do
not die from this constant abuse, when they reach their final
destination—the slaughterhouse—they are often in awful condition,
with broken bones, chronic injuries and extensive suffering.
It is a positive development in this country that we cannot
“name a rodeo star with even half the recognition of Paris
Hilton.” People who make their living abusing animals do not
deserve fame. Rodeos are not a civilized place to visit, and
I was disappointed that Metroland printed a book review
on this subject without the slightest mention of the animal
our article “Who’s Policing the Police?” we neglected to distinguish
between two unions representing members of the Albany Police
Department. The Albany Police Officers Union was the union
involved in requesting subpoenas and searching personal e-mail
to track down the source of a media leak. The Albany Police
Supervisors Association, which formed last year and represents
50 sergeants and lieutenants, was not involved.
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