LETTER: Silver Shield Endorsement of Candidates Polarized our Community at a Time We Needed to Bring People Together

Submitted by John Cooper, Greenwich

The text below is verbatim what I wrote to the Silver Shield upon receiving their request for a donation this year. Sadly, no one responded, but I feel the residents of Greenwich could benefit from hearing a side other than those expressed by the yard signs “Support the GPD”.  

When your pamphlet arrived asking for an annual donation, my first thought was to throw it in the trash because the politicizing of H.B. 6004 and supporting specific candidates during our local elections was a huge error in judgement.

Sadly, your first ever endorsement led to further polarization of our community at a time we needed to bring people together.

However, as a 25+ year donor, I changed my mind because the programs you run are important to the residents of the town.  

“An Act Concerning Police Accountability,” passed both houses of the legislature in July of this year. It is surely not a commentary on the Greenwich police force. It is a series of pro-active programs and protections that have been a long time in coming for residents of Hartford, New Haven, Bridgeport and even Stamford.

It is ludicrous to even consider Greenwich, with its sparkling reputation as a safe, well policed town as a cause for the concerns written into this bill. However, I believe Greenwich, along with every other PD and community, would benefit from implicit bias and de-escalation training.  

For you to react defensively could either be you supporting the Thin Blue Line or knowing full well that there have been cases of improper conduct by police in Greenwich that just got swept under the rug.

Either way, in the “George Floyd” era in which we live, both responses are inappropriate.

In the post Columbine period, it is well known that police forces across the country have become highly militarized. Every action encourages a reaction. As delayed as it is, “Defund the Police” is that reaction.

The proper phrase should be “Humanize the Police”, because that is what people are asking for.  

As a teen in the late 60’s, I was picked up by two GPD officers who escorted an inebriated me to the end of my street. I was told to go home and not to do anything like that again. “Next time we’ll take you to the front door and have a talk with your parents.” That next time never happened. We need to return to this attitude in policing.  

John B. Cooper