By William Lewis
It was during the period after Sept. 11, 2001 when the World Trade Center was attacked, that our New York City police and fire departments obtained the overwhelming gratitude of the citizens of our city.
Back then, our police and fire departments, as now, were considered the Bravest and the Finest in view of their outstanding efforts in searching for and rescuing victims from the World Trade disaster. In some cases, off duty police and firemen came to the World Trade Center on their own time, day after day, and aided in the rescue operation.
The public was grateful for their sacrifices. Police and firefighters were applauded and saluted continually. There were candlelight vigils held in front of police precinct buildings and firehouses.
Television and movie films were made highlighting the accomplishments of police and firefighter public servants. It was the time of a tremendous amount of respect for the men and women of the police and fire departments.
The general public and these two important arms of the city government were firm in working towards common goals.
Today, we see a struggle going on that has been characterized as a “war on police” which recently resulted in the execution of two police officers.
We cannot have this situation in a civilized society. There should be a bond of cooperation between the people and the city police.
In our schools, especially in the middle and high schools, students should be taught the meaning of law enforcement and how cooperation between the citizens and the police is so vitally important if our city is to successfully grow and prosper.
Senior police officials can give presentations to civic groups and community representative organizations about how to improve efforts by residents and police working together to fight crime.
More attention can be given to having police officers on radio and television programs as guests. In that way, people may get a better understanding of police procedures.
In terms of our state legislative branch of government, stronger penalties should be adopted in dealing with attacks on police. It is important that would-be criminals who attack police physically and refuse to follow their instructions will face harsh punishments.
Any criminal who assaults a police officer should face a punishment of 10 to 15 years in prison, if convicted. Any criminal who kills an on-duty policeman should be subject to life in prison without parole. The possibility of making the act of killing a police officer a federal crime should be looked into.
This so-called war against the police has got to be stopped. It is not only dealing with criminal elements, but as has been said many times before, “our police put their lives on the line every day to protect our city and its citizens.”
During the 20-year period from 1994 to 2014, when Rudy Giuliani and Mike Bloomberg were mayors, the police department had a good working relationship with City Hall. The police during that time felt they had the support of the mayor’s office. However, with Bill deBlasio as mayor, all that seems to have changed. Our police no longer get the same support they received from City Hall.
It is essential that the mayor’s office and also our City Council back up the police as they do their job under very trying circumstances.
A well-trained police force with high moral and motivation is necessary for now and for our city in the future.