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No more studies are needed

"A Matter of Trust" [CITY's article on police oversight] states: "This is the first time in the history of the civilian review process that Council has used its subpoena power." Considering the circumstances, City Council really had no choice. And it is absolutely unnecessary and would be fiscal irresponsible to hire the Center for Governmental Research and pay them thousands of dollars "to study the review process."

The process has literally been studied to death. We know the major problem and issue: "Currently, when a civilian files a complaint about the actions of a Rochester police officer, that complaint is investigated by officers in the Police Standards Section of the Rochester Police Department. The police chief then reviews the complaint and the PSS investigation and decides whether or not to uphold the complaint."

In other words, we know darn well that the police cannot and will not police the police. There is no example, anywhere in the nation, in which the police do a thorough, objectively fair, and unbiased job of investigating and reporting on themselves. The blue-code wall of silence is simply much too old and too strong for this to ever happen.

With regard to studies: I am certain that any pertinent information City Council wants or needs is contained in the recent report developed by Enough Is Enough and the Coalition for Police Reform, and/or other much older reports (some of which date back to at least the 1970's, if not earlier).

Am I the only one who remembers the Crimi Report in 1976, commissioned after a Rochester police officer shot and killed an 18-year-old African-American woman during a family dispute? How about the 2004 Hargrave-Miller Report, prompted by the deaths of an African-American teenager and four African-American men in 2001 and 2002? Former Rochester Mayor Bill Johnson called it "the most comprehensive outside look at the police department since the Crimi Report."

How many more studies and reports do we need? It's beyond time to act, and there is no doubt that we know what needs to be done.


Special-ed failures

On the recent report criticizing the Rochester School District's special-education program: My child was a special ed student in one of the "better" local suburban school systems. Special ed fails our children because public schools do not have the money for the necessary low student-teacher ratios needed to reach these students.

With 20-20 hindsight, I tell special ed parents to find a private school and scholarship money. This could give their children a chance. Our school system could not deal with my child's issue; we had to go outside the school system for help.

Special ed seems to be improving (my child was a student a decade ago), but I still don't know whether to cry or scream when I think of all the special ed kids I have known who were hurt by their schools. 

Yes, poverty hurts, but insufficient funding makes special ed a disaster everyplace.

Name withheld to protect the student's privacy.