No sooner do I praise my local police department, but Vice News comes to town to trash it.
Of course, this video is worth watching, as well. In the video, Bloomfield’s police chief mentions burglary, something I can speak to from first-hand experience. The question is whether the reduction in the crime rate has come at the expense of individual rights–or not.
I’m not inclined to take back my praise for the Bloomfield PD; my own experiences with the department have been consistently positive. The frustrations I’ve had in Bloomfield are frustrations with the details of state law, not with the police department per se. Not that I haven’t had my share of police-related frustrations in other Jersey towns over the years.
Anyway, I’m going to reserve judgment on the Vice News/Seton Hall report for now. I mention it simply to have mentioned it, and as an IOU on a discussion I hope to have after I get off blogcation, possibly as late as this fall, when I’ll be teaching Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow in a couple of classes (my thoughts on this have been brewing since Ferguson, but they can afford to brew a little longer). I suppose the experience of going through the Bloomfield Citizens Police Academy program–and a summer in the West Bank–should come in handy as well. It’s just strange to be so close to what’s turning out to be a national story.
Here are some vital statistics on Bloomfield, by the way, including racial demographics.