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Nobody’s Perfect

To the Editor:

Whether 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 image.

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.

Wanda Lubinski


Rodeo Killed the Rodeo Star

To the Editor:

I 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 suffering involved.

Kristen McDermott



In 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.

Metroland welcomes typed, double-spaced letters (computer printouts OK), addressed to the editor. Or you may e-mail them to: Metroland reserves the right to edit letters for length; 300 words is the preferred maximum. You must include your name, address and day and evening telephone numbers. We will not publish letters that cannot be verified, nor those that are illegible, irresponsible or factually inaccurate.

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