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A retired detectives view on police accountability

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I am a Norwalk resident of 40 years, Black and a retired Philadelphia homicide detective, having taken the oath of office in September 1961. It is with great pride that I am patriarch of an entire family in law enforcement. My eldest son,  a Judge, my middle son, serving a total of 33 years in Local, State  and Federal law enforcement agencies, retiring after 28 years as an FBI Agent, a nephew, who retired as Philadelphia Police Commissioner in 2019, a grandson currently a police officer.

I was disappointed after reading about the treatment by a small group of Norwalk Police Officers directed at Senator Bob Duff for carrying out his role as a legislator in passing the Police Accountability Bill . Although I have never met him I have long been aware of Senator Duff’s work in Norwalk and the 25th District he represents. I also know he has been a staunch advocate for the Norwalk Police Department for years and ask this question.

“Why direct this kind of treatment toward someone who has been a proven benefactor for fulfilling the role he was elected to do, (i.e, voting for what he feels is in the best interest of the entire population he represents and not just one segment)?”

It is unfortunate that the actions of a small number of police officers across the country resulted in injury or death to many who did not deserve to die. This in turn has brought about police reform throughout the nation. This reform is not designed to penalize the 90 percent of officers who diligently perform their jobs correctly, but to minimize the bad conduct by those who make the job difficult for the majority of their colleagues. Regardless of what anyone’s position is on the merits of the bill, we should treat elected officials and everyone else with the same respect we would want to receive.

 

Gerald Ross, Jr.

 

14 comments

John ONeill September 17, 2020 at 8:46 am

1) Congratulations on a terrific career
2) You seem to be giving Duff a pass on lying about his visit on July 24th. Why?
As a retired policeman I would think you’d be upset by those who stoke division by lying and abusing their pulpit…
You sound like a great guy, but I couldn’t disagree with you more. Maybe you wrote this piece before the video was released. It shocks me that a retired detective could view this video and come to your conclusion.
Is it possible your politics is skewing your vision?

Bryan Meek September 17, 2020 at 11:40 am

Respect your service and your opinion, but the facts are Duff lied for his own political fortune and this is not the first time and it has been very, very costly for the City of Norwalk.

Celeste September 17, 2020 at 11:54 am

Dear Citizen Ross,

You are a voice of reason and experience.

I don’t know Bob Duff either but his allegations of NPD bullying, harassment and intimidation are alarming and deserve a full independent investigation.

This would be the right thing to do for any person making such allegations of harassment, intimidation and bullying by any police force anywhere. Have an independent, unbiased investigation whereby every piece of video inside and out, and from every angle is viewed.

I am shocked that Mayor Rilling, another elected official, has allowed this uproar in the Norwalk community to fester for nearly two months. I know he was Norwalk’s police chief for many years. You would think he’d want to get to the bottom of this so it doesn’t look like he’s protecting an old boy’s club, rather than protecting the Norwalk community at large.

This is not going away and the voters are watching.

Ron Morris September 17, 2020 at 12:17 pm

Well Said
This is how a good police officers sounds
Shame he doesn’t come out of retirement as Norwalk sure could use a new chief and he sounds like he would be perfect for the job.

Scott September 17, 2020 at 12:33 pm

And with that said, thank you and your families service but did you see the video?

“Regardless of what anyone’s position is on the merits of the bill, we should treat elected officials and everyone else with the same respect we would want to receive.” Funny you say this, maybe when ALL of the Democrats respect President Trump the way Republicans respected President Obama we’ll have peace in America.
Sen. Duff lied, that’s OK with you?

Only in America baby!

Jen Stevens September 17, 2020 at 4:17 pm

Thank you Mr. Gerald Ross for you dedicated service to our nation, and to your entire family’s dedication. Very eloquently stated. I agree with your sentiments.
Jen

I Wore the Uniform - Patriot September 17, 2020 at 11:19 pm

Thank you Gerald for your clear-eyed response. It’s simple.

I too wore a uniform. The one that is of the Armed Services. We volunteered to put ourselves at risk. We understood when we decided to put on the uniform and take the oath, there would be accountability because we were authorize to use force. So, we conducted ourselves while in uniform with the honor that was due our oath.

We were in service to the American citizens. We had chose to protect and defend the nation. At personal risk to ourselves.

Now some those same beautiful American citizens, whom we defended, did not always understand our mission nor fully appreciate or agree with our actions. We have had to endure times of conflict.

But our honor in serving them remained intact. It was OUR choice. OUR chosen path. So, It’s simple.

Accountability is necessary to counter-balance OUR authorized use force. Our honor to our oath remains intact. It’s not for sale. Nor to be laid on anyone’s table to be leveraged.

It’s simple

M Murray September 18, 2020 at 8:23 am

Thank you for your service in one of the most difficult cities and time frame. Det Ross was also shot in the line of duty interrupting an armed robbery, but was able to injure the perpetrator allowing other Detectives to capture him at the hospital. Det.Ross also worked on several huge cases and was instrumental in getting a confession from a criminal who shot two police officers.

John ONeill September 18, 2020 at 8:37 am

@Ron – Gerry might be too old to come out of his retirement. But, his nephew is available. Ironically, he stepped down in Philly after unsubstantiated accusations were made. Philadelphia lost a tremendous Police Commissioner(maybe the best they ever had)and the cancel culture claimed another victim. I’m sure you’d agree that is not right. We can’t let lies and unproven accusations taint the hard work of our police officers in Norwalk, Philadelphia or any city for that matter. Duff needs to apologize

Bruce September 18, 2020 at 10:32 am

Scott
Please stop attempting to re-write history. President Obama was NOT respected by the Republicans.. They questioned his citizenship, his religion, his loyalty to the constitution, and some even went as far as to question the sex of his wife.

Ron Morris September 18, 2020 at 5:12 pm

John ONeill
I think that you would agree that cops are professional liars. They lie all the time to get citizens to admit to something that they have done and at times to something that they did not do. We have plenty of innocent people behind bars because of police lies. Let us not forget that police also lie in reports so it fits their narrative. Its no secret that before body cameras the police always said that the suspect reached for their gun when it never happened. So when the police apologize for their lies then we can discuss the Duff apology.

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