Cop Cars and Fire Trucks

Nov 17, 2008 at 3:20 pm

“The City of Covington, in an effort to continue its focus on public safety, took delivery of more than $1 million in new fire trucks and police cruisers and SUVs. The purchases are part of a comprehensive five-year capital improvement budget plan adopted by the Covington Board of City Commissioners.”—-

So says a press release from the City of Covington e-mailed out last week.

When my house catches on fire or someone breaks into my home, I want to be able to call on the fire fighters and police officers who serve in our communities. But what I want to know is when are we going to read about $1 million for new mental health professionals, job-skill training programs and support for adult and youth mentor programs?

Blowing the horn of “public safety” is popular when brand-new, shiny fire trucks are the rolling into the firehouse. The hard-core reality of true public safety is addressing the causes of crime, including arson, is about addressing poverty and mental health and employment and other issues that drive people to do the things they do to survive. That isn’t as sexy. So it gets pushed to the shadows when the lights of the new police cars go zooming down the road and commissioners allocate money to easy to promote expenditures.

The real commitment is the hardest one – a comprehensive plan to do more than just outfit cops and fire fighters. It’s a commitment to public safety that works to reduce crime and address the things that truly pose a threat to safety. Not sure what those things are? I suggest beginning with the local universities for a few hundred studies on the matter and national programs that are already in place in other cities throughout the world.