Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Council Dems Cut from Public Safety Advisory Committee

The Department of Public Safety has added Rick Hite as Deputy Director for Training and Strategic Initiatives and has created a Public Safety Advisory Board with some major omissions. For the full story, here is the release from the Department of Public Safety.

INDIANAPOLIS – The Department of Public Safety announces today the appointment of Rick Hite as Deputy Director for Training and Strategic Initiatives. Rick is a native of Gary and a 32-year law enforcement veteran with the Baltimore City Police Department. He has served in roles such as Deputy Chief of Patrol, Major, and Lieutenant. He served as the president of the Vanguard Society for four years and successfully implemented several nationally recognized programs that focused on police leadership, community-oriented problem solving, the reduction of youth violence and gang activity, and prisoner re-entry. In this newly created role, Hite will lead a review of IMPD recruit, in-service and leadership training curriculum as well as the recruiting, hiring and promotional programs with top departments across the nation.

The Department of Public Safety also announces a newly created Public Safety Advisory Board to focus on public safety issues in the community. This board will advise the Department of Public Safety and give recommendations on programs and initiatives. This group was selected based on their prominence in the community and their diverse cultural and professional backgrounds.

“The appointment of Mr. Hite and the creation of the Department of Public Safety Advisory Board will assist us in our efforts to strengthen the IMPD training curriculum and community-police relations,” said Mayor Greg Ballard. “Mr. Hite’s leadership skills and experience and the Advisory Board’s cultural and professional diversity will be valuable contributions to the City of Indianapolis.”

“Mr. Hite is a nationally recognized police leader who led the implementation of several innovative community-involved strategies that during his career had a profound effect on the City of Baltimore and its Police Department,” said Public Safety Director Frank Straub. “We are fortunate to have someone with Mr. Hite’s experience and background join the Department of Public Safety and lead this important review and reengineering of the IMPD’s training programs,” Straub added.

Members of the DPS advisory board are:
Alfredo Lopez, Alivio Clinic
Abdul Hakim-Shabazz, Attorney at Law
Amos Brown, Radio One
Councilor Ben Hunter, City-County Council At-Large
Councilor Angel M Rivera, City-County Council At-Large
Melissa Proffitt Reese, Partner, Ice Miller LLP
Pastor James W. Jackson, Lead Pastor of the Fervent Prayer Church
Raju Chintala, President, Asian Services of Indiana and Vice Chairman, India Association of Indianapolis

The Advisory Board will meet regularly and present their findings to members of the DPS Executive Staff. The first meeting, to be held in late September, will focus on improvements to the training academy and recruitment for the next IMPD recruit class.
For more information, please visit or visit the DPS Facebook page.

The other story buried in the details is who is not on the committee. Apparently, none of the 13 Democrats on the City-County Council were important enough to make it. Both of the Councillors on the board, Angel Rivera and Benjamin Hunter, are Republicans.

This, I believe, is a huge error in judgement by the Department of Public Safety, Director Frank Straub, and Mayor Greg Ballard. To shut out Democrats from the Council is a slap in the face. The mere omission of one Council Democrat from the board absolutely politicizes the advisory board.

Incidentally, I informally polled a few members of the Democratic caucus of the City-County Council about this development, and they said that they would have likely served if asked on this advisory board.

Does the Department of Public Safety believe that Democrats on the Council have nothing to add to the conversation? It's a question that the Public Safety Director and Mayor Ballard both should have to answer.

And, due respect and congratulations to both Abdul and Amos Brown, but, by serving on this committee, how can they comment publicly on their blogs or their radio shows about anything public safety-oriented now? While they come from different perspectives, the choice of Brown and Hakim-Shabazz is quizzical.

A friend of mine said Abdul's inclusion on the board was like "President Obama putting Rachel Maddow on an advisory board on homeland security."


TheSandman said...

In all fairness to Abdul and Maddow, I think Rachel Maddow would do a better job on a homeland security advisory board than a lot of people think.....

....And I'm not even a fan of her.

Abdul said...

Frankly I think David Brooks of the New York Times is a better analogy. But hey, who am I to complain?

Anonymous said...

Abdul sold out his principals a long time ago.

Indy Student said...

Did you and Terry Burns get your stories lined up to publish at the same time? :)

Just kind of odd that they're posted within minutes of each other (at least according to my blogger feed) with similar titles.

As for Abdul and Amos, I don't see anything wrong with them serving. Someone like the crime beat reporter at the Star, sure. But these two are known for their opinions, not their objectivity.

Jon E. Easter said...

I considered waiting until the morning to have mine post, but I actually wanted to beat Terry to press. I was at a fundraiser and waited to get home to write it. I think his went live a little while after mine.

I don't pay much attention to what I think Terry might write. We just seem somedays to be on the same page.

Anonymous said...

Although Hunter is a good choice for this committee he is not an at-large councilor.

The 25th can't even get this right.