Friday, May 21, 2010

Somerville Remembers

In Somerville, New Jersey, this week, a memorial commemorating two fallen police officers was unveiled, and in our view it is more significant than most.

The monument honors Officer Julius Sauter, who was shot and killed on February 3, 1917, and Officer Manning T. Crow, who was shot on January 19, 1899. That’s right, Somerville has not forgotten men who made the ultimate sacrifice 93 and 111 years ago!

Also significant is the fact that these two officers remain the only Somerville officers to have been slain since the department was founded. It has been 93 years since the last Somerville officer was killed on the job. May this remarkable record continue.

At the time of the unveiling of this memorial, it was noted that Officer Sauter was killed while attempting to save a man from committing suicide. The suicidal man turned his weapon on Sauter and fatally shot him before taking his own life. Officer Crow was shot after confronting burglars in a butcher shop. But get this: After sustaining the wound, Officer Crow walked back to the police station to inform other officers about the incident! Sadly, he died shortly afterwards.

A cynic might say that it took Somerville nearly 100 years to commemorate the sacrifice of these two officers, but we disagree: Somerville should be praised for not forgetting these officers from the last century and the century before that.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

It’s Good News, But it’s Sad

The City of Newark marked its first murder-free month in more than 40 years this past March. This is certainly good news, and it reflects well on the city’s efforts to improve its policing and to improve its community relations.

But it nonetheless strikes us as sad that this simple statistic – that a month passed without a homicide – is news. How sad that homicide in Newark is so, shall we say, normal, that its absence is news.

We can only hope that the March milestone is just that, a milestone along the way to an ongoing and lasting decrease in the city’s homicide rate. A lasting decrease – that’s the news story we look forward to seeing.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Christ in a Crosswalk

From the Associated Press:

The victim might have forgiven the woman who ran him down in a Massachusetts crosswalk, but police haven't.

Police say a Pittsfield woman has been cited for running down a man named Lord Jesus Christ as he crossed a street in Northampton on Tuesday.

The 50-year-old man is from Belchertown. Officers checked his ID and discovered that, indeed, his legal name is Lord Jesus Christ. He was taken to the hospital for treatment of minor facial injuries.

Police say 20-year-old Brittany Cantarella was cited for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

As the saying goes, you just can't make this stuff up.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

He Bombed On Broadway

Okay, maybe that is too flip a headline, considering the potential carnage that could have resulted had the Times Square car bomber been successful this past weekend.

Thankfully, the would-be bomber was not able to build a bomb that worked. And, thankfully again, solid police work had the guy in custody in not much more than 48 hours after his smoldering handwork was discovered.

Still, it is a reminder that the bombings we hear about half a world away could indeed happen here. New York City residents have carried a reputation for indifference that is traced often to the infamous Kitty Genovese murder of 1964. But the events of September 2001 changed that. Last weekend, a street vendor first alerted a mounted officer about the suspicious SUV. No longer indifferent, New Yorkers – and Americans everywhere – now strive to find the appropriate measure of vigilance without paranoia.