I just have to say a few words about our police department and how it operates.
I grew up with a grandfather who served on the Alexandria police department for over 30 years.
During that time he served in every capacity but Chief. He was mentioned for the job one or two times and his answer was short and to the point…NO.
Looking back on the things he had to put up with in the 1920-50 time period and the stories he told me, I understand why he said no.
This was before the time of even patrol car radio’s. The police back then relied on call boxes at different locations throughout the city. Telephones mounted on poles in metal boxes. The method of calling patrolmen was to turn on a light that was strung over the intersection where the box was located. If it was on they picked up and found out what the problem was.
They walked beats back then.
Before and after shift hours they would have to answer roll call at the station at 6th and Lee at that time.
Each officer was assigned several blocks in town that they patrolled during their duty hours.
They would direct traffic on busy days and write parking tickets and watch over their areas for any problems or unusual happenings.
The trust factor was so good back then that most of the officers held keys to almost all of the commercial stores on their beat.
In case of a problem they could enter the building if it were closed.
On some weekends, as a teenager, I would go with my grandfather on his patrols and watch his work with people.
I saw how hard it was to deal with certain types of citizens.
There are more problems today than then. There are a multitude of even worse problems facing anyone in police work now.
Laws are more complicated and harder to enforce today than back then. If someone shot at you in the past. You shot back. If he or she died, it was a pretty open and shut case. No drawn out investigation or suspension from work. You went back the next day as if nothing happened. Seldom if ever was it unjustified. It is different today.
It was a different world back then. (I use that term a lot today.)
We are going to have to have a new chief for the Alexandria force. It will take a person who can see and understand the going’s on of day to day law enforcement.
It is no longer my grandfathers world of policing. It is work of another kind entirely. We need some one who can handle the job and understand its fine lines.
I hope the job is filled with someone who can advance the force and not just be a political hack.
I hope the person selected is totally qualified and understands the job. You can not let other people do it for you.
Our past Chief was a good and effective one.
We need one today who is even better than he was.
Even though I have never wanted to follow in my grandfathers foootsteps, I did see and understand even way back then what it is like to be a policeman.
I would not want the job.
I hope it is filled correctly though.
Something to think about…….