Readers Write: New police reform group not the answer

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The Long Island Advocates for Police Accountability has a great name and sounds like a great idea, but if the article is accurate, has some significant problems.
The first is the conflict-of-interest of Fred Brewington as a member of the board.
Mr. Brewington has made a living by suing and challenging the Nassau County Police Department and is still a civil rights attorney. His financial success in this field is greatly affected by people’s perception of the Nassau County Police Department, something that can be greatly affected by this organization. If the LIAPA is ever officially sanctioned, not only should Mr. Brewington not be on the board, but any contact or association he has with it would be a conflict-of-interest and a potential corruption of his legal career.
Another member of the board, Dennis Jones, who according to the article is a former NYC police officer, explains how they want to change the mission of the police department. He says in the story  “a police 911 call should be for emergencies. A family dispute shouldn’t be deemed an emergency. Nine times out of 10 it’s an argument and the officer has to go in there and become a peacemaker. He doesn’t even know how to do that”.
Putting his unqualified generalizations of Nassau County police officers aside, he mischaracterizes family disturbances, which most police officers realize are one of the most volatile and dangerous calls to which a police officer can respond.
Further, before mental health and social work professionals could respond, the police officers would first have to verify it is a safe environment for them and possibly remain there in case it becomes violent. This would not free up the police resources they are looking to reallocate.
There may be credible and necessary police reforms that would help both the public and the police department, but they’re not going to be found through this organization.

Ray Olsen
Williston Park

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