ACHIEVING COMMUNITY SAFETY & SECURITY IS A 24/7/365 TEAM EFFORT

Hilbert Morales EL OBSERVADOR
Photo by Velizar Ivanov on Unsplash

San Jose Police Department Chief Eddie Garcia addressed anxieties of the undocumented community in his op-ed published by Bay Area News Group (S.J. Mercury News, page A8, 04.11.2019). In his very first paragraph, Chief Garcia communicates the fact that an undocumented convicted felon had killed Bambi Larson.

Turning this undocumented convicted felon over to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Division of Department of Homeland Security would normally be the correct thing to

do, and in this particular case, still is the thing to do. But that act flies counter to the policy adopted by the County of Santa Clara and City of San Jose whose leaders and community have opted to be a sanctuary for the undocumented which means not cooperating nor collaboration with ICE.

A similar case occurred in San Francisco, CA where an undocumented individual had stolen a gun from a law enforcement vehicle; accidently fired it; the bullet ricocheted off a rock, hit a pedestrian, killing her. In both cases, the right thing to do was to turn these felons over to ICE for deportation proceedings.

Despite the sentiments of the community, its elected officials and other ethical and moral leaders, local law enforcement officials, such as Chief Eddie Garcia, must be allowed to cooperate &

collaborate with ICE. The alternative leaves on individual whose behavior leans towards felonious acts whose outcomes are harmful to the safety and security of residents.

It was very appropriate for Chief Garcia to do what reasonable law enforcement in the City of San Jose jurisdiction required. Chief Garcia is to be commended for taking the time to assure other undocumented residents that he, his sworn officers, and all members of the San Jose Police Department will continue to not cooperate nor collaborate with ICE.

In both cases, the undocumented individual was a recidivist in that an extensive prior record documented criminal behavior. Both had been deported before and had found a way to return to this

nation. The outcome of the current sanctuary policy was that it needs to provide for a method or define the exceptions to the rule.

The general community is liberal and favors supporting and protecting those undocumented which are good residents who are not scoff-laws. Those who support sanctuary policy must allow the local law enforcement officials to collaborate and coordinate with ICE when dealing with a felon whose residency in our community decreases its safety and security.

Invariably, these criminals have committed violent acts resulting in killing of innocent individuals; may practice violent sexual behavior (be rapists) and/or be serious drug addicts. No reasonable resident, citizen or undocumented, would want to favor continuing sanctuary status which protects these sorts of individuals in any local community.

While none have been denied due process of the law, when identified and placed in a local jail’s protective custody, these sorts of felons need to be turned over to federal officials, specifically ICE, for deportation.

And those law-abiding undocumented need to support these actions because their implementation increases the level of community safety and security. Chief Garcia and his ilk need not have their hands tied by any sanctuary policy.

Every individual in any jurisdiction must understand that the achievement of Community Safety and Security requires ongoing 24/7/365 vigilance on the part of not only their law enforcement

professionals, but also all its residents. Any time a resident witnesses, or acquires hearsay knowledge, or knows who knows about a felonious incident and chooses not to convey that information to the appropriate law enforcement investigators,

Then that decision has the effect of impeding the achievement of a higher level of community safety and security. Complicity has no place in these sorts of incidents. Two innocent individuals had their lives ended because our general community is too ‘Christian compassionate’.

Many of us learned not to be tattle-tales or snitches when youthful. However, maturity and experience often will indicate when doing the right thing is to communicate tips; witness accounts; and other incident knowledge. Adult responsibility requires doing the right thing because this responsible act keeps one from being complicit as a false witness.

There are many felonious crimes which remain unresolved. Consider that each case represents getting away with a serious wrongful act by an individual who could use some counseling and behavioral modification training.

Individuals who act out in violent angry spontaneous outbursts often benefit from being identified, receiving due process, and learning to make better decisions for themselves (and others). All of these individuals tip off who they are with their behavioral patterns. It is essential for all of us to speak out when bullying and/or sexual misbehavior is witnessed.

Community leaders must organize Neighborhood Watch Groups who are trained to be alert and observant about harmful and destructive activities. Burglars and sneak thieves of delivered packages, and vandals avoid those communities with “Watch Groups”. It is appropriate for all to learn to identify these un-civil behavior patterns. But it is also good knowledge for all residents to have and to use effectively.

Neighborhood leaders could organize block parties which are used to learn who is really your next door neighbor. Too many of us do not know the family next door. We need to learn, without violation of privacy issues, enough to be comfortable when requesting assistance required on occasion.

There isa place for stable relationships, friendships, and knowing just enough to become a good neighbor who looks out for you and your kids. It is in these sorts of neighborhoods that a very high level of community safety and security are achieved and maintained 24/7.

It does not happen without our personal involvement and interest. SJ Mayor Sam Liccardo personally told me, “San Jose has programs which help fund community block parties and the like.” So, call your City Councilman to learn how to have a block party funded by your own taxes and take a step toward getting acquainted with your neighbor.

That is where you may start – and everyone has fun; no one is excluded, not even the undocumented because we do not need to know who they are. We, The People are very inclusive and diverse.

We respect the dignity of our humane relationships. We begin by communicating enough to know each other as neighbors who look out for each other. The result is community safety and security achieved by trusting & honoring the ideals we all share.

SJPD Chief Eddie Garcia would appreciate more of us as team members who want to achieve community safety and security as a team effort, 24/7/365.

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