Practical Solutions Law and Order Friendly Neighborhood Police

About a practical solution to the problems surrounding police wherein officers work only in their own neighborhood.



Friendly Neighborhood Police

I am a black man, born and bred in the poor part of Philadelphia. Even though I have managed to "raise myself out of the ghetto," I have never forgotten what it was like and what it is still like for those I left behind. My worst memories are of the police. My friends, my family, and I, in fact everyone on the block, never thought of them as anything other than mercenaries who invaded our neighborhood for eight hours a day and then disappeared to another part of town. To say that we resented their presence would be a gross understatement. And yet, whenever somebody got knifed on the street or whenever two people got tired of living so close to each other and started screaming or throwing things, we knew that the police were necessary.

This dilemma has bothered me all my life, but I think I have come up with a solution. Probably others have thought of it before, because it is actually quite simple. All policemen must be required to live in the area they patrol. If a cop is too disgusted to live in our neighborhood, then he shouldn't work there either. And I am sure that every neighborhood in the country, no matter how poor and run-down it is, must have a few men who would be willing to clean up their act and become police.

I think this would work in rich white areas too. A neighborhood cop would get to know the people. He would know if something or somebody was suspicious or out of place. If the police lived nearby and everybody knew them, they would be much less likely to act in a brutal or callous manner.

I hope someone will take me seriously and institute my idea, if for no other reason than that the people back in West Philadelphia could sure use some extra jobs.

Name withheld by request Indianapolis, Ind.

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