Fairfield needs to change how polices the community

To the Editor:

Property crime is on the rise in Fairfield. Violent crime is about as frequent, or infrequent, as it has ever been in our relatively peaceful town. After hitting an all time historic low for the town of 985 incidents in 2007, property crime rate for Fairfield hit 1,131 incidents in 2011 .

The Fairfield Police Commission and the out-of-town salaried command the unelected commissioners have put at the top of the police department has never seen fit to publish any intelligent reporting of the incidence of crime in Fairfield on the town webpage.

However, the out-of-towners do voluntarily report crime statistics to the federal government for inclusion in the U.S. Department of Justice Uniform Crime Reports. After a little searching, I was able to find the Fairfield stats these people think we just can not handle on our own.

And further on the issue, the salaried police command, all of whom get paid courtesy of taxes on our property, would like the electorate to believe that the increase in property crime in our town is due to the downturn in the economy, but that is nothing but a lame excuse for their poor performance and lack of accountability to the electorate.

There has never been any conclusive social science evidence that a bad economy drives up crime. In fact, property crime is down both statewide and nationwide these days, and the economy has been on the mend anyway even in the most anemic way. Fairfield is on the wrong track when it comes to policing, especially when you consider the amount of many the police spend in this town.

There is much that needs to be done to turn around this bad crime trend, which hurts our quality of life in town. The first step would be to abolish the unelected and unaccountable Police Commission. The second step would be to put in place a competent salaried police command — chief, deputy chief and captains — all of whom would be required to live in our town. We need a command at the top that is fully committed to our community and not just police mercenaries who come to Fairfield to collect their pay and health insurance while accruing time for their police pensions.

The crime rate is not the only measure of effectiveness of a police department, but it is one that can no longer be ignored as the Police Commission has ignored it for years. You know the cliché — it is time for change.

 

Jim Brown

Fairfield

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