Drunken slobs on Paycheck Fridays at the oft-lampooned LA Police Academy, resulting in the DUI death of a young motorcycle officer, wrapping his bike around a post.

LAPD sting operations against gay men in the bushes bordering Weho. The Moreno Valley flack jacket and armed invasion of black-owned barber shops ostensibly for licensing violations. Gay bar patrons harassed and beaten. A homeless women armed with only a screwdriver and obviously mentally disturbed shot like carnival target.

I hereby volunteer to change the course and direction of my colorful life for a new goal:

Teaching sensitivity to men and women in uniform. Not in Iraq or Afghanistan, but in the streets and cars and bedrooms of America, where overzealous and under-trained cops seem to overreact more often than not.

I was recently able to pose a question to new LAPD CHIEF CHARLIE BECK about the above referenced entrapment of gay men, and how LAPD jut didn’t get it. Neither did the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Department, I opined, until we throttled them a bit and got some response…Beck pledged to work toward interagency cooperation, and gosh, I think he really means it. There’s no reason that these organizations aren’t all on the same big, fat, recycled page, the page with large typeface easy to read by all with no subtext and no connotations. Just the facts, ma’am and those facts are that well, let’s not shoot to kill every sing time, or get the wrong address in a raid, or assume guilt based on skin color or location, among other obvious factors.

Imagine, for a moment, you are a black man, established in the

African American community, and bursting in your doorway, ready to haul you off to the hoosegow. The era of water cannons and lynching might well reside in the memory banks of this barber: certainly the history of the struggle is not forgotten.

Perhaps it would be wise to enter with the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology inspectors, ask to see the requisite paperwork, and then act accordingly. I know, that gleaming black leather, shiny firearms and polished badge make it hard to resist leaning on people and using that might. That’s where the training comes into play. That’s where Chief Beck’s Community Policing policy comes into play. Sorry, Gates, it is broke and we do have to fix it. You’re old school and it’s a new era, an era where we work together for the common good, not uncommon greed and power. See you in time for Police Academy 8, or whatever number they’re up to. In this one, there’s less to laugh at, and more to laugh with.


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