By Allan Lengel
FBI Director James Comey has gotten some push back from skeptics about this theory that the recent intense focus on police brutality has made some police officers less aggressive about doing their job, which has resulted in a spike in crime.
Well, the retired Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI has issued a statement commending him for speaking out on the issue in Chicago.
The statement says:
Director Comey has served for two decades as a top federal prosecutor in New York City, Richmond, Virginia and at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. He is widely respected as a thoughtful, independent, and insightful leader. His independence was celebrated when as Deputy Attorney General he, along with then FBI Director Robert Mueller, both threatened to resign rather than proceed with a White House policy of President George W. Bush that they both considered illegal. The FBI Director has a ten year term that purposefully does not coincide with the four year term of the presidency to insure such independence. Director Comey’s comments on race, policing, and spiking crime rates this last year should be applauded as timely, needed and courageous.
Director Comey bravely tackled in his speech a complex subject dealing with spiking violent crime and homicide rates in cities all across the country in 2015 after 25 years of declining violent crime. During this last year, Director Comey has directed his Special Agents in Charge across the country to engage in community discussions about race relations and policing issues. He has listened to their reporting and he also makes it a practice to speak with law enforcement groups and officials on a continual basis. Comey remarked that the reason for such spikes may be due to a change in policing. He asked the important question “In today’s You Tube world, are officers reluctant to get out of their cars and do the work that controls violent crime? Are officers answering 911 calls but avoiding the informal contact that keeps bad guys standing around, especially with guns?” He asked these important questions in the context that the murder victims in large part are persons of color and that law enforcement needs to find answers to the questions he was asking and solutions to the spiking crime rate to save these vulnerable victims and their communities. Director Comey also strongly noted in several instances that changes in police conduct is welcomed in terms of de-escalation and the use of deadly force.
Society President Larry Langberg stated, “Director Comey has commented to the nation’s law enforcement professionals on a difficult subject involving race relations, policing practices, and community involvement. He should be applauded for encouraging nationally a discussion about critical issues in policing.”