LETTERS: Reform police department from the top down, not the bottom

SHARE LETTERS: Reform police department from the top down, not the bottom
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Chicago Police Officer Robert Rialmo. | Sun-Times file photo

When I started working as a Chicago cop, the police department was investigated by the Internal Investigations Division, which had been created after several police scandals rocked the city. Next came what was called the Internal Affairs Division, and then the Office of Professional Standards, which gave way to the Independent Police Review Authority.

Names changed, but results did not. We are still hearing calls for reform of the department. And now there is the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, which this month called for the firing of Officer Robert Rialmo for his actions in the shooting death of Quintonio LeGrier in 2015. One reason given by a COPA spokeswoman was the officer’s failure to maintain his taser gun certification.

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Without arguing the facts of COPA’s findings , I’d like to point out that if CPD is ever going to be reformed COPA simply cannot make the mistakes of its predecessors and ignore the responsibility of department’s supervisors. Reform starts at the top, not with the low-hanging fruit. The system has to change, not the individual officers.

Where were Officer Rialmo’s supervisors — the sergeants, lieutenants, captains and commanders? Did they not know his taser certification had not been renewed? They should have. How many incidents can we look back at and ask the same question: “Where were the supervisors?”

If COPA is going to survive where the others failed, this has to become a priority.

Bob Angone. Miramar Beach. Florida

Build the wall ‘Trump-style’

I don’t understand all the fuss in Washinton regarding how to play for President Trump’s “wall.” I know I heard Trump say many times that Mexico will pay for it, but they say they won’t. The president is a self-described astute businessman. He can refer to his past practices in how to get the job done. Just hire the necessary contractors to build the wall, then don’t pay them. Works for him every time.

Jack Sokol, Lemont

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