Tonight, I brought the Tidewater Libertarian Party’s request for a citizen review board on the police procedures revealed by the Ryan Frederick case to the Chesapeake City Council. I must have run a bit long, as when I was wrapping up, Mayor Krasnoff asked me to wrap it up. It was hard to read their reaction, I guess we will have to wait and see.
As expected, the Chesapeake Police had someone present to give a rebuttal.
Det John Landfair began by accusing me of disparaging the police which I certainly did not do. (The session will be replayed on Cox Channel 48 on Saturday evening, judge for yourself.) Then he pointed out what a safe city we live in, which is true enough. The then followed with some amazing statistics.Since 2003 South Hampton Roads has suffered eleven line-of-duty police deaths. Southside ranks 3rd in line of duty deaths, following only only NYPD and California Highway Patrol. More than Chicago which has 13,000 officers, Southside has less than 2000.
Yet he is certain that I am wrong to question Chesapeake’s procedures on search warrants.
Think about that.
If we had the third most dangerous bus line in the country, or the third highest occurrence of hospital infections in the country, higher than much larger cities, would we not be demanding an investigation into what our bus drivers and doctors were doing wrong?
He also told us that one third of the people who killed police officers here had no previous criminal record. Again, if police are being killed by people who are not inherently criminal, what is being done that causes those people to kill?
Det. Landfair did make one point with which I heartily agree. It is the Chesapeake City Council’s primary responsibility to oversee the procedures and policies of the police, and had they done so, and been open to the public about it, there would be no need for a citizen review.
But a year has gone by with no action, and for them to do so now would be seen as a rubber stamp, a means to avoid a citizen review. That opportunity has passed.
Councilman Dwight M. Parker asked the city manager to take board of review under advisement and determine if the city had the authority to form one.
One thing is certain. A review board will only be formed if the people, andthe press, demand one.