A modified version of the Police Accountability bill covered in this post has passed preliminary approval in the city council. The unanimous vote puts the bill on next Tuesday’s agenda where it is expected to receive passage.
The City Paper does an excellent job covering the bill here.
The Trib on the other hand takes pains to call the approval ‘tentative’ and implies that the only people applauding the effort are ‘black leaders’. Funny, I could’ve sworn Vic Walczak and Beth Pittinger were concerned to uphold the rights of everyone.
The PG chose not to cover it at all, though they are probably awaiting final passage to print their write-up.
There is another strange feature of the coverage however. By all accounts, the FOP, public safety and Chief Harper all came to the negotiating table to craft a bill that would address community concerns. This level of cooperation was rather extraordinary considering that just a few months ago FOP President Dan O’Hara was threatening that the bill would have officers so busy filing reports that they would have no ability to fight crime.
The really surprising thing, however, is this. The Trib’s coverage and an article currently running in the City Paper both point out that the Police Bureau is currently suffering from widespread mistrust in the community. Their cooperation on this bill then would be a great way to start to show good faith efforts to respond to these community concerns. Further, I would expect the mayor’s office to be doing its best to capitalize on the good will brought on by this cooperation.
And yet, the FOP, Chief Harper and the Mayor’s office have been silent. None of them bothered to give a quote to either publication as they were preparing stories. In fact only Huss seems to have addressed the issue at all. While he called the negotiations ‘positive’ and ‘productive’, he certainly didn’t do much to emphasize this unprecedented cooperation.
I think the biggest question is ‘what happened?’. Did public safety or the chief come to realize that this bill was going to pass whether they wanted it to or not and so decided to get some input on it? Was this course of action directed by the mayor’s office?
While there are plenty of things to praise in this city, cooperation of this sort usually isn’t among them.
Still, all parties that sat down at the table are to be commended. That includes the FOP, the chief and public safety (maybe even the mayor’s office). What is really strange though is that no one seems ready to step forward and take the credit!