Angel In Blue


Angel In Blue

The policeman stood and faced his God, which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining, just as brightly as his brass.

“Step forward now, policeman. How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek? To My church have you been true?”

The policeman squared his shoulders and said, “No, Lord, I guess I ain’t,
Because those of us who carry badges can’t always be a saint.

I’ve had to work most Sundays, and at times my talk was rough,
and sometimes I’ve been violent, because the streets are awfully tough.

But I never took a penny, that wasn’t mine to keep . . .
Though I worked a lot of overtime when the bills got just too steep.

And I never passed a cry for help, though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God forgive me, I’ve wept unmanly tears.

I know I don’t deserve a place among the people here.
They never wanted me around except to calm their fear.

If you’ve a place for me here, Lord, it needn’t be so grand.
I never expected or had too much, but if you don’t I’ll understand.

There was silence all around the throne where the saints had often trod.
As the policeman waited quietly, for the judgment of his God.

“Step forward now, policeman, You’ve borne your burdens well.
Come walk a beat on Heaven’s streets, You’ve done your time in hell.”

Author Unknown

We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.
Ronald Reagan

Town Hall Meeting

In August 2015 Commissioners James and Neering held their first Town Hall Meeting which was considered a success with between 100-125 residents in attendance.

On December 8, 2015 the second Town Hall Meeting was held, which I attended.
When I pulled into the parking lot and saw the number of cars present I believe the meeting was going to be another success. When I walked into the building and asked where the Commission’s meetings were being held I was directed to another building with approximately 12 cars in the parking lot.

There was a total of 22 people in attendance which included Commissioners James, Neering, and Moffitt along with Pastor Kevin Jones, Assistant Pastor of the Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church.
In the audience was Commissioner Ryan, two representatives from the Palm Beach County Gang Unit, and a representative from the Children’s Service Council along with two young women with teenage boys.
One of these young boys stood out as he spoke of his fears and hopes for his neighborhood.  He is being raised in a two-parent household and maintains a 4.0 grade average, and proudly mentioned his grandfather was a WPB Police Officer. One woman spoke and told the story of how her son was murdered.

Pastor Jones spoke of the “Mayor’s Village Initiative” and all that it offers. Below are the highlights of that initiative.

Mayor’s Village Initiative

The Mayor’s Village initiative is a city of West Palm Beach initiative which focuses on the plight of African American boys and young men.
The goal of the initiative is to prevent and reduce youth violence and to improve the outcomes of African American boys and young men in targeted areas of the city. The village consist of government agencies, businesses, concerned citizens, the faith community, nonprofits, philanthropy, and schools. The city will act as an umbrella and pull its vast resources together to help address this issue. At this time, we are focusing primarily on the North End of the city.
The current programs under the initiative reads.

Community and Police Dialogues- The dialogues consist of 4 to 5 week conversations between police officers, community residents, and community social service providers. These dialogues create a safe and and non-confrontational space for these individuals to develop trust, better understand each other’s experiences, and work together on solutions to build positive relationships between law enforcement’s and residents.

Kids & Cops Workshop- This workshop is a discussion between African American teenage boys and police officers. It is an opportunity for the youth to express their thoughts and feelings about their relationship with law enforcement. Additionally, it allows the young men to hear from police officers about their roles in the community.

Neighborhood Accountability Board (NAB)–  This program is geared for youth 12 to 18 years of age. The goal is for the youth to repair the harm that was caused in the community. A child that commits a first time misdemeanor offense qualifies for this program. They must be referred by the Police Department or the State Attorney’s Office. The conference consist of the offender and their parents, the victim (if they want to attend), and a board that is comprised of trained neighborhood volunteers. They talk about the offense and agree on appropriate sanctions. The youth have approximately 90 days to complete their assigned sanctions. If they complete the sanctions, the offense will not be on the record.

Operation Youth Violence: Reduction, Intervention, and Prevention:  The West Palm Beach Police Department developed this program in response to the high number of arrest concerning our inner city youth. The program is geared toward first-time felony offenders between the ages of 13 to 24. The goal is to provide them with the necessary resources and mentoring in hopes that they will become productive members of the community. This is a collaborative effort between government agencies, the faith community, and other public / private entities. These youth are offered the opportunity to enroll in GED programs, job readiness courses, counseling, and subsidized employment. These services are provided through the Urban League of Palm Beach County and the Pleasant City Youth Empowerment Center.

Workforce Development Program:  The goal of this program is to connect residents to employment. The goal is also to assist them in overcoming any barriers to obtaining employment. We have educational institutions, community groups, and the private sector at the table supporting this program. Many of the jobs require training and it is our goal that we make training available for the residents knowing that, at the end of the training, a job is waiting.

All the information above was available and the Commissioner’s and Pastor waiting to share with residents. Unfortunately, too few residents received the message.

The North End of the city is made up of thousands of hard-working residents who just want peace, to work and provide for their families. They should not live in fear because their children want to play in the front yard.

Unfortunately there are a handful of criminal types and it appears that peace is not on their agenda. A good example: On Sunday December 6, two 18 year old men were shot on the street in the North End. Neither man will cooperate with the police. Can the city expect retaliation in that shooting in the coming weeks?

The North End of the city has a problem and I don’t believe the residents can fix it without the help of the police department. The police department cannot fix the problem without the help of the residents. What are we waiting for?

The last Peace in the Street March for 2015 is scheduled to be held on Thursday Dec.17 starting at 5:15 PM. Please meet @ Coleman Park Community Center located at 1116 21st. St. WPB Fl;  where residents and police march together.  Working together = success

Free Speech-Vs-Censorship-Another View

Posting on November 30,2015 “Free Speech-VS-Censorship is an interesting article written by Debbie. I would like to offer another opinion, and invite you to look at the other side of the coin. Debbie’s first paragraph explains the First Amendment of the Constitution on freedom of speech.

She mentions “very insensitive comments” made by Commissioner Moffett at the October 26 commission meeting, but fails to mention what the comments were. I attended that meeting and can’t recall any statement by Commissioner Moffett concerning the West Palm Beach Police Department, except that she wanted the very best officers working for the city.

She mentioned an African-American speaker who had some “strong comments” in that meeting, but failed to mention his name. The speaker is actually a Palm Beach County Deputy and former West Palm Beach Police Officer, who was fired from the city. According to the PB Post at the time of his firing, he had a total of 15 reprimands and 10 suspensions on his record. He is now with the PBC Sheriff’s office where he has acquired more reprimands and suspensions.

At the June 8 2015 City Commission meeting the deputy used his three minutes slandering me with accusations of being a racist and bigot along with being ignorant and condescending.

I was absent from the June 8 meeting but attended the June 22 meeting where it was more of the same.

He sent an email to the mayor and commissioners with a request that his email be read at the July 6, 2015 meeting, and the topic once more concerned me. This email was not read, I believe in part due to the length of his message. It would have taken an auctioneer to deliver the message in the three minutes allotted to residents. He writes in part:
“Saying you don’t understand New York and Baltimore, shows blatant disrespect, lack of knowledge, ignorance and racist views for not knowing why millions of black, white and others were marching around cities in this country because of people like yourself.”

Here is my favorite paragraph in his email.
“Sandy, you need to leave writing about black issues, in our community to us. Clearly you don’t have a grasp of what’s going on in our community and clearly, you need to write about your own community and leave the black community alone.”

Appears he is dictating to me what I can write and talk about. Is he attempting to infringing on my right to free speech?

What I actually said was I didn’t understand why the people of New York weren’t protesting over the murder of two police officers shot to death while sitting in their cruiser, by a black man.

I don’t recall mentioning Baltimore, but did make comments concerning Ferguson, Missouri. Ferguson was not protesting, Ferguson was out of control– looting, burning police cruisers, smashing windows, closing business, and when Michael Brown’s stepfather was caught on video yelling “Burn this Motherf—er down” along with “Burn this bitch down” the protesters who were in a high state of agitation and the utterance of the stepfather did just that, set the town on fire, and video showed a vast majority were black. It was so violent a state of emergency was called for.

What I know of Baltimore: After the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore Maryland, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the black mayor, told the police to stand down, and allow the protesters to “vent” Well they vented alright. It was a repeat of Ferguson.

As of August 2015 there have been over 300 murder’s committed, and the count rises daily. Most of the crime appears to be black on black. Many more mother’s heart’s broken.
In July the Mayor fired the Police Commissioner, and replaced him with a black man. The death toll continued to climb.
Baltimore Mayor Rawlings-Blake has decided not to run for re-election as Mayor in 2016. My opinion- she made a good decision.

In the news as I write this:
Police officer Jason Van Dyke was arrested and will be tried on 1st. degree murder charges in connection with the shooting death of a black man named Laquan McDonald in Chicago. Officer Van Dyke shot the young man 16 times. The story continues.

The University of Chicago was shut down recently due to Jabari R. Dean, 21, a black man who threatened to kill 16 white male students or staff. One dead white man for every shot fired by officer Van Dyke. He further stated he “will die killing any number of white policemen that I can in the process” In my opinion when innocent police and citizens are murdered, the black community loses a little more support from the white community.

The comment below was written in the Opinion section of the PB Post 11/15/15, and I will refer to the author as the “writer”

“Off-duty officer was rude, unprofessional”

“Recently, at the West Palm Beach City Commission meeting, during public comment, where speakers have three minutes to address the mayor and commissioners, a man employed by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy addressed the commission in a rude and unprofessional way.

I understand that this may be his personal time; however, what the public sees is an off-duty sheriff’s deputy verbally attacking and breaking the rules of the televised commission meetings. Mayor Jeri Muoio had to remind him multiple times that he would be removed from the chambers.

If I were his employer, I would be concerned with his off-duty public behavior. Hats off to the commissioners and mayor who had to endure this abuse. Great job not reacting to this rant, which had to be infuriating. These types of hurtful, disrespectful comments have no place in a city meeting, and it’s unfair to anyone, including the viewing public, and should not be tolerated.”

The “author” who wrote his opinion for publication did not mention the deputy’s name.

At the last city commission meeting (11/23) the deputy may have recognized  himself as being the subject of the “Letter to the Editors” because he directed what I consider to be hateful rhetoric toward the “writer”. The deputy concluded his free speech informing the dais, the audience along with residents listening to the televised meeting personal information concerning the “writer” in what may have been an attempt to shock listeners. To me it showed what the deputy is made of.

I applaud “writer” for speaking up and allowing his views to be known. There needs to be more people willing to come forward and express their opinions in a gentlemanly way as he did.

Debbie you wrote: “Unlike private citizens, elected officials actions are subject to public scrutiny, as they should be.”
I would remind you that “writer” and myself are not elected officials, and it appears our “free speech” is not acceptable to the deputy when our comments concern him. Speaking for myself, I don’t mind scrutiny, but am concerned about being called a racist and a bigot, especially while living in a black neighborhood. All it takes is another Louis Head to cause harm and destruction to me and others.

I applaud the commission, and want to thank Commissioner Ryan and Mayor Muoio for having the courage to suggest public comment be moved to a later time.
Any resident who watches city government and wishes to address the dais is welcome to attend, listen and learn. If residents wish to address the mayor and commission they will still be welcome,hopefully an hour or so later. City government is not attempting to remove anyone’s right to free speech.