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- Schenectady Daily Gazette on NYADP
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- Turning Ideas into Action
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Members of law enforcement often confront dangerous situations involving conflict and a threat of violence that most citizens hope to avoid. In the course of their daily work, police officers witness violence and the damaging effects of violence. They are expected to behave professionally even when they encounter human beings at their worst.
Police and prosecutors would much rather keep the peace than mop up after a violent act. They see first-hand the trauma and suffering that victims of violence are forced to endure. They watch entire communities slowly sinking under the tragic burden of crime and violence. All too often, they see today’s abused and neglected child turn into tomorrow’s perpetrator. They know that some of their best work goes unrecognized, because it is preventive in nature.
But members of law enforcement can’t stop crime and violence alone - despite societial expectations. They know that in order to fulfill their crucial mission they need broad community support: not only basic cooperation from individual citizens, but also proactive efforts on the part of community leaders. Violence is a problem that affects all of us, and that all of us must join together to resolve.
NYADP seeks to build a strong and ongoing collaboration between members of law enforcement, political leaders, victims’ advocates, mental health experts and concerned citizens to address violence and the causes of violence. By acknowledging our shared responsibility and working together, we believe we can make our streets and communities safer and offer our children a positive atmosphere in which to grow.
We believe that those who are in the frontline and "behind the scenes" in protecting citizens against violent crime must be integrally involved in processes which create innovative, nonviolent, and effective solutions to this social problem. Already, New Yorkers Against the Death Penalty, our former organization, has taken the initiative to engage in round-table discussions and draft statements wherein law enforcement members have expressed their concerns about the use of a flawed capital punishment system . In New Yorkers for Alternatives to the Death Penalty's new vision, law enforcement members serve as important contributers in our discussions, as we value not only their perspective and input, but also wish to create a situation in which their work is valued and their lives protected.
We wish to engage Law Enforcement members more deeply in asking about alternatives and, more than this, work on collaborating with them in order to implement plans against violence that better serve them, the community, victims, and families of the incarcerated. A majority of Police Chiefs in the United States have placed the death penalty last as a solution to the problem of violent crime (Hart 1995). In a state without the death penalty, surely we can dedicate our time and resources formerly spent on capital punishment towards solutions that work.