***Note to Midlothian Valerie readers – While I have not been involved with Midlothian for a few months now, I do miss the times I would sit down with no structural rules to the content and if it became a ramble, then so be it…but it would be off to the world of Midlothian politics and its scenery The point of those efforts was not for me to craft something that would specifically appeal to the widest audience possible, rather it was a matter of emptying my own thoughts onto the screen and then wondering if even one person was going to understand even one portion of what I wrote. It was my chance to rebel against boundaries I set for myself when it came to my own publishing habits and the subsequent effects of such compositions being published.
I haven’t written an intentional ramble in quite a while, so if you’re looking for short and sweet, this isn’t the post for you. If you’re looking for an aged and experienced opinion of community policing in Midlothian, then you might want to scan your way through it.
Either way, thank you for still using the site as a reference point for a part of the history of Midlothian you just can’t get anywhere else.
It is true that anyone can lay claim to the phrase “Community Policing” and then applying their own definitions to it. It’s not a trademarked term and was originally intended on being a catch-all container for other communities to build around.
But a city or a town laying claim to possessing a True Community Policing principle in its community comes with certain mandatory protocols–otherwise the act of policing of the community quickly becomes filled with such great and grave injustices, a state of peace cannot be discerned from the chaos created by so many realities being of true representation of a negative experience being unresolved.
Whenever I made a statement in the past that the Village of Midlothian does not have a true community policing program, it came absent of any expectations except for the most basic of basics to be present, that of a government entity willing, able and encouraging of a thorough policing of itself at all levels.
Without this element of unfettered and unrestricted access to elements such as a truth-filled and up-to-date municipal code book being distributed to the public online, the government entity is not permitting “community” policing. They are only permitting and encouraging the policing as suggested by that book, and any other book of laws influencing a geographical location and “Surprise!”
But it is more than just a book of laws being available to the public in any capacity. When access to justice is obstructed through a series of “whoops” events in which government is constantly and even predictably given extraordinary latitude while expecting strict adherence by anyone outside of this privileged circle, penalties matter.
Fine a citizen and the system works…theoretically. Fine a government entity and the system can potentially break immediately, such as with an SEC fine or even the fines that are supposed to come with anyone who fails to abide by OMA laws. All of a sudden, the totality of ones life comes into play while the citizen who was fined had to take the hit regardless of lifetime accomplishment. Depending on the government person, they might even ride the wave of controversy straight into a flush bank account. Huh? How is that providing citizens tools designed and intended to provide balance upon demand and command?
Crimes committed by a person of government have always come with a special class of citizenship…a class that comes with its own set of rules that traditionally has voraciously and even viciously blackmailed the system into accepting. Punish the government person and the taxpayer loses something.
No wonder so many people are still fearful of reporting wrong-doings of any level to so many communities claiming to have a handle and a grip on what it means to be a True Community Policing community, especially when the “See something, say something” filter is applied to ones environment. Videos of every meeting published online. No excuses. Websites for all municipal units. Agendas on time on website. No excuses. Meeting minutes done in a speedy and accurate manner. No excuses. All can be done for next to no cost. Municipal code books published. No excuses. Date and time stamps on all documents. No excuses.
That’s “my kind of Community Policing.”
In other words, my theory is that if government wants authority to do whatever they want to justify to theoretically protecting you from me, then I retain my always existing authority to do whatever is legally allowed to protect myself from who knows what government will come up with next to justify who knows what.
And until a government unit in its entirety, from top to bottom, can stop itself from panic attack after panic attack over something being released to the public that can be damaging and damning, there can be no True Community Policing program open to one and all equally at all times.
All it continues to be is a government sweep of the community using paid and unpaid agents to report back on what the government wants to crack down on while protecting itself from challenges to its judgment calls.
Selling people on a concept of “Community Policing” can always go horribly wrong, as it did back in the second world war, with people reporting people to authorities that resulted in medical boards consisting of three people and a red pencil deciding who lived and who died. And one need not limit themselves to this mass scale event to see other ways mankind has deputized itself to perform
From the first moment I heard from a government employee “we don’t want your kind of Community Policing” all those years back, I knew there would be problems getting the municipal code book updated, let alone establishing a formal complaint system with various entry points so that one could critique any government person and there would be protection not from a signed promise, but a culture in practice of not worrying about who made the complaint or filed the concern.
So when I heard it come from a different government person last week and what they thought I was expecting when I critiqued the Village on its Community Policing program, I gave them the simplified version of this post.
For all who have not a clue what I am talking about…
For well over 10 years, I put these principles into action and both of these government people benefitted from the videos online, my filings with the PAC office and Dart’s office, published research, etc. let alone the constructive conversations that were held based on what the public was being asked to believe to be the truth at any given moment and my presenting it for consideration by the public.
This is just a really short follow-up note to provide more clarity into what goes through my mind when I think about anyone’s “Community Policing” program…let alone the one in Midlothian. In my experienced opinion, It’s not just about staying alert, its what you are being expected to stay alert for and what you are supposed to do if you think you see something someone else needs to know about.
As a survivor of sexual assault by a former member of our military, I am always hyper-alert to how open and closed organizations are when it comes to their responsibilities and rights in policing themselves, especially a government unit. And when a government unit goes out of its way to protect documents of any kind, including meeting minutes and agendas, that’s not healthy for anyone other than the insiders who are busy trading on the information and leaving everyone else out of the equations and their mental accounting. It’s extra insidious when integrity elements like date and time stamps are left off of reports, receipts, etc. That’s cyber-grade stuff.
Lastly, I get it that not many are going to “like” my kind of community policing, especially because I don’t hold these principles to be true based on some popularity contest telling me this is the way I should view my world around me. And yet, we hold ourselves to be a nation of laws…where are all of those books located again?
Oh yeah…no one knows for sure. Not one person can point to a website and say to anyone across the world, “See that? These are our laws. All of them. Here’s the index.” I came the closest in terms of the number of books I located and linked to years ago, but that was a paltry and offensive 40% out of 21,000 municipal units I was able to find over a 3 month period. And that was excluding libraries, schools, park districts, etc.
The public must be able to effectively police the government entities overseeing their lives at any given moment and in my experienced opinion, when there truly is no all-inclusive “community” coming from a government unit using the phrase “community policing” the phrase is thus rendered false, leaving behind only the “policing” part…and that’s where more otherwise avoidable dangers start manifesting themselves.
That goes for Midlothian, Illinois…or anywhere else on this planet. But at least our system of government is supposed to have room for necessary mechanisms to be not only put in place for everyone’s protection, but adhered to as well. That always has been and always will be worth standing up for, let alone fighting for.
Ahhh…the elements of my own existence that I tend to examine and make note of…
P.S. BTW…in case you haven’t noticed…there are way too many individual municipal units in Cook County doing such piss-poor jobs policing themselves and the state has a chance of having a new Attorney General.
With so much talk about what should be done to government in Springfield, it is a shame none of the candidates are willing to claim they are ready to take on complex cases like the ones in Harvey…let alone what’s been going on in Midlothian.
Quinn couldn’t reign anyone in as governor, like he’s going to go after the habitual OMA violators and hold them accountable. So what if you took over someone’s seat when someone else left. The missing municipal code books was announced to the State years ago and there was no initiative to correct this “oversight” not even by the ghost of an Equal Access to Justice commission…or whatever its called nowadays.