Taking the bull by the horns
We’ve worked in towns where it took outright murder before the police would acknowledge they had such a problem on their hands. Thankfully, hardcore crime is far from chronic here.
Keeping a lid on things is not the way to handle this. Much better to make the community at large aware and bring them into the campaign to keep the gang crap at bay.
By contrast, the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office has been a bit on the quiet side, going so far as to suggest that references to gangs not find a home in print.
This is understandable, if ineffective, advice. We have, alas, too long experience over the years with communities and their police agencies seeming to be more concerned about image than recognizing when they have a budding problem. It’s not really racial, other than the gang thing seems to involve minority populations – Vietnamese, African-Americans, Hispanics, impoverished and disaffected Caucasians.
What these officials don’t understand or perhaps overlook is that the part of the communities where this activity takes place is highly aware of the situation. It’s the rest of the community that’s in the dark. As long as the community at large is blissfully ignorant, there isn’t much in the way of action counteracting the ill effects of the gang behavior – wannabe or the genuine despicable article.
We’ve seen community police deny the obvious right up until the worst happens. Better to help the youngsters understand this isn’t the way at the graffiti stage. There are social, as well as law enforcement, steps to take well before the worst case manifests. But that is unlikely to happen if officials are unwilling to acknowledge what the folks in the affected neighborhoods already know all too well.
Good for the Avon police.
Kudos to the candidates for county commissioner and Eagle County representative in the state House for sharing their insights at a candidate forum Monday night at the county building. Same to the 50-60 people who took time to listen in, and to forum moderator Kevin Brubeck, who steered the debate smoothly and on time.
Commissioner candidates Laurie Bower, Jerry Sandberg and Tom Stone, as well as state representative candidates Heather Lemon and Carl Miller brought their A games, and we thank them for their effort.