The End Of Officer Friendly & Why Bladel Is Right!
Let me be blunt, if I may. Police Chief Mike Bladel and the Davenport City Council are right to use technology to best serve its citizens. And yes, I truly believe the enforcement cameras are about safety and not a sophomoric brainstorm to raise buckets of money for more "bridges to no where". I listen to folks that believe these notions, and conclude they have no real understanding of the responsibilities of local government. As important, the honest intention of it’s elected and staff members that oversee the services carried out.
The real Mike Bladel was seen yesterday. A tea totter, polished politician that is fighting for what he believes is the right thing to do. His crisp, yet fiery sermon would create envy amongst most local ministers. He understands the elected officials are under fire by those that are looking for a good fight. An in reality, it’s the elected officials that are on the upcoming ballot and ultimately accountable.
I am told a handful of council members are willing to suffer any consequences, because their vote to support the system was never based on money. Others like Ambrose, who truly is the “father” of this issue, believes cameras should be on every corner. But a slim majority understands what most reasonable citizens understand as well….
The Cameras Work
Notice all the talk radio blab, blog speak and general rhetoric never takes on the effectiveness of the cameras. We all have noticed the reasonable speeds along East River Drive, 3000 block of Division Street or Harrison and 35th.
Yesterday, I listened to Jim Fisher wrap the speed camera issue around the death of a prostitute; "forget about speed and work on drugs, prostitution and the important issues". And I believe the elected that support this system actually agree with Fisher.
With our judicial system allowing bad guys to go through the “turn-style” so quickly, our force is becoming over whelmed. A typical cost of a cop has surged over $80,000 a year and the department is trying to become more specialized in gangs, drug trade trends, immigration challenges and the federal bureaucracy surrounding terrorism and the like. The era of “Officer Friendly” is quickly transforming into “The Enforcer”.
I may be in the minority, but I would rather have the cop shop slowing down the bad guys and a camera and a computer reminding me to slow down, be good and let the cops do their real job.