Can Blacks afford to trust the police?

caines | 2/14/2013, 4:30 a.m.

Do you remember when you were a little boy or girl back in the day when police officers or McGruff the Crime Dog would come to your school to encourage children and adults alike to take a bite out of crime? The message was simple: when members of the community assist members of their local police departments, they can help to deter crime. We can collectively make our neighborhood a safer place to live. But that was when police officers were our role models people that we could trust. Sadly, that is not the case today here in Miami. Today we have officers on the take, protecting criminal activities when instead they should be closing those places down and locking up their ringleaders. And while City of Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa is probably correct when he says that crooked cops only make up a small percentage of the entire staff, its still hard for us to believe in the integrity of our men and women in blue. We lost our faith in them. There are some brave, amazing officers that patrol our city each day, putting their lives on the line and willingly stare death in the face because it is their job. And we need them in order to maintain law and order on our streets. We need them so that young boys and girls can go to and from school safely and senior citizens can enjoy the cool evening air without fear of being mugged. Then there are those officers that are either poorly trained or insensitive to the ways that Blacks communicate and are even afraid of confronting Black men. These officers, many who are not Black, tend to shoot first and get the facts later. Here again we have a serious problem, even if the percentage of such officers is small. Now when a police officer pulls over a Black man, for us it is far from being routine. In our minds we wonder if well walk away unscathed. Orosa and his staff must be vigilant in cleaning up the Department and restoring the communitys trust. The time is long overdue.