Building Trust, or Danger? Debate Over Naming Officers After Shootings

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Should the media publish the names of cops involved in shootings? Does that serve the community or does it just paint a target on cops?


There are definitely two sides on this issue.

After years of criticism that police investigations in Philadelphia were too opaque — including a critical Justice Department report earlier this year — Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey overturned the longstanding policy of withholding officers’ names.

That would be Barack Obama’s Justice Department, siding with “the community.” I’m frankly shocked that the City of Philadelphia hasn’t been releasing the names, pictures, addresses, and information about immediate family members of cops who’ve been involved in shootings. After all, the city has been run by Democrats since Ben Franklin moved to Paris.

On the other side is the police unions.

But the leader of the city’s influential police union, John McNesby, pushed back, calling the move “insane and absurd.”

“It makes it a little bit more difficult today because you actually have to look over your shoulder,” he says. “We have families, too. We’re not asking for the world. We’re asking for fairness.”

Frankly, Mr. NcNesby, you’re asking the wrong people.

The basic selling point for releasing names is that it “builds trust in the community.” Needless to say they don’t bother to explain how that happens, it’s just a nice sounding catch phrase. Like “Hands Up Don’t Shoot.”

Just what “communities” are supporters of releasing names talking about anyway? I can pretty well guarantee you it’s not the Philly Main Line. I’m guessing it’s probably more like South Philly. Of course in South Philly the residents don’t trust one another either. Anybody doing anything to build some trust – or some real community – there?


I don’t know what the answer to the “naming police” question is, but I do know the answer to “building community” question I raised above. It’s “Hell no.”


Maybe if the “community organizers” would spend more time working to build a real community the issue of police trust would likely go away. But then “community organizers” wouldn’t have anything to do.

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