Monday, June 20, 2016

Solano EDC breakfast highlights link between public safety and economic vitality

Solano EDC breakfast highlights link between public safety and economic vitality

By Dom Pruett, DPruett@TheReporter.Com, @dompruett on Twitter

Posted: 06/17/16, 5:52 PM PDT | Updated: 2 days ago

Local Law Enforcement Officers, Government Elected Officials, and various other community stakeholders joined representatives from the Solano Economic Development Corporation (EDC) Friday morning over breakfast at the Hilton Garden Inn in Fairfield to discuss the correlation between public safety and economic vitality.

“Solano County is known as a large village, and we need to work together,” Solano EDC President Sandy Person explained. “We can always do better; this needs to be our top priority.”

Police Foundation President Jim Bueermann gave the opening presentation in which he addressed ways to improve current policing amidst a growing state of distrust and animosity among some citizens toward law enforcement officers.

Buerrmann discussed the sweeping proposal that would require all officers to wear a body camera while on duty, as well as virtual reality training — installed to let officers gain a different perspective on police interaction.

“I’m an old white guy, so I don’t know what it’s like to be a 20-year-old African American,” Bueerrman said, which returned some sporadic laughter from the audience. “Police others the way you would want to be policed.”

Though Bueerrmann later admitted he didn’t believe his message resonated with many of the officers there in person, he was clear and uncompromising in conveying his belief that departments across the country need a change in culture.

“We’re not going to advance policing in this country if we continue the way we have,” he said.

To Bueerrmann, a change in culture will only come from officers acquiring a better understanding of how to police minorities and the mentally ill.

“Whether you like to admit it or not, you are social workers,” he told the law enforcement officers.

Lastly, Bueerrmann mentioned the connection between education and crime. “How many educated and successful people do you know who have been arrested?”

His three major points: prevention, intervention and suppression revealed that only through social change will communities become strengthened, and in turn, alter the current perception of police.

Vacaville Police Chief John Carli, who was in attendance, agreed with Buerrmann’s message.

“Policing in the community is not about arresting people,” he said. “Education is the driving force. It makes kids more successful.”

Carli explained, “It’s planting the seed for the tree you may never sit under.”

California Director of the Council for a Strong America Barrie Becker followed Bueerrmann and expanded on the significance of education’s role in reducing crime.

“Education leads to less crime,” Becker said while presenting slides with statistics to back her claims. Becker added that when law enforcement officers, business leaders, and retired senior military personnel are among some of the many who have already joined her in fighting crime through investment in children.

Becker discussed in particular the obstacles children from low-income and dysfunctional families face, and added that a quick survey on any prison’s inmate population would reveal that the vast majority read at an elementary school level. In theory, the more children flourish in school, the less likely they will end up behind bars.

“It’s a huge indicator,” Buerrmann remarked about education following the event.

However, it takes everyone to make it possible.

“Police and schools can’t do it on their own,” he said.