For certain, there are a few truths in this life. We pay taxes and die. We live and love. We try and tire. And the police -- some way or another -- will always win. And why shouldn’t they? Would you have the criminals in control?
In Newburgh, we have a viable but incapacitated police force in a community that actually requires a cop on each block or, better yet, the national guard. I am not calling them to come down and clean it up, but I have a feeling they will soon be on their way.
This is my reasoning. First, we have a gang crisis. The writing has been literally on the walls for some time now. There is plentiful graffiti and markings which are modern-day war drums on the urban scene. The school district and community only wake up when there is blood on the ground. Gang activity in Newburgh is, as the kids say, OD!
Second, as I said, the police always win. The city council was foolish enough to approve a 2010 budget that reduced police protection. The school district was left without patrolmen. The district knows the gang problem. It is suppose to be in the business of education, not dodging bullets and confiscating knives. They need the police on site at NFA at all times. The school district went as far as to pay the city for police protection. This drastic step by the school district gave the police department relevance. Cops, and firefighters too, have a need to be relevant and respected. The city council cannot just stick them in the corner or piss in their faces and tell them it’s raining. It won’t work. These men and women put their lives on the line to keep the peace.
So when I read the recent headline in the Times Herald-Record: “Newburgh Gang Violence on White House Radar,” I was not surprised. Clearly, someone in Newburgh police affairs is working overtime to make their department relevant. If it takes public relations, picket lines, or calling the local congressman, the Newburgh City Police Department will prevail and hopefully prosper from some federal stimulus funds. Neither the police nor the fire departments can wait around for City Hall to make some noise about our crime and gang crisis.
The kids are running rampant with vindictive violence. Worse yet, Robinson Avenue is no longer the dividing line between the "hood" or East End and the West End. It is more like Fullerton Avenue now where there were reports yesterday of police in riot gear investigating a disturbance. Face it, gang territories are spreading out past West Street. So it will not be long before an outside law agency will have to step in to help our beleaguered city.
I have always maintained that the city should never, under any circumstances cut public safety. They should cut some of the other departments, but never police, fire and public works. Police presence in Newburgh should be increased in order to address and resolve a growing eminent danger: gang violence.