I’m sure that a number of you who have read the Beaver Countian or will read the Beaver Countian are expecting a response in regards to the comments by Wayne Kress. Well, you will see no response, at least not publicly. I am not going to dignify the undignified and irresponsible comments made. When John Paul called me yesterday evening for comments and told me that Wayne Kress had already comments, without even knowing what he said, my response was that I respect his opinion but I have mine. I do not need a newspaper article to hide behind. If I have an issue, I contact the person with whom I have the issue with. I will not air these views publicly.
My motivation, my background and my accomplishments speak for themselves. I am acutely aware of what the authority is of the Sheriff’s department, what they can and cannot do. However, had Mr. Kress taken the time to digest what I had to say in the Letter to the Editor, which is attached and is to be published tomorrow, it would be clear this was not an endorsement of Sheriff Guy: It was in support of the needs of law enforcement and, in this case, an organization that happened to be one with a Republican in control.
The correspondence was targeted directly towards Chairperson Egley in that there is a lack of vision in regards to the needs of our community and race relations, and with some imagination from both Egley and the Sheriff, we can utilize those resources through enhanced community relations by training and education while instituting some innovative programs to keep our children off the street, to get them working and avoid a flashpoint as we see throughout the country. I have had the occasion to speak with many of my friends in the African American community who make it very clear frustration and anxiety within the ranks of our young black children, primarily males, is increasing, and we need to be proactive.
I make no apologies for my Letter to the Editor. We have some of the best law enforcement in Western Pennsylvania, but we still have a number of municipalities with no police departments and with those that do, approximately 33 are utilizing part-time officers from one degree to another, part-time police officers. The Pennsylvania State Police as well are undermanned. My correspondence supports law enforcement, not a political figure. It questions the vision of our Beaver County Chairperson. My correspondence contains and supports everything that I believe we as Democrats are about: supporting law enforcement, the middle class, the underprivileged, inclusiveness, social justice and, when necessary, getting things done in a bi-partisan way.
Louis W. Gentile
Chairman, Beaver County Democratic Committee
*Below is a letter to the editor written by the Chairman of the Beaver County Democratic Committee
Police Community Relations
The budget controversy between Chairperson Sandie Egley and Sheriff Tony Guy is disturbing. The needs of law enforcement have never been so compelling, evidenced by the recent tragic events which have drawn national attention, provoking a visceral reaction from the African-American community challenging institutional racism versus law enforcement, insisting the burden placed on the backs of those wearing a badge is unreasonable.
The data confirms institutional racism, most of which has little to do with police. The data also supports the fact that officers do not patrol with the intention of shooting young black men: quite the contrary. However, the bridge to community relations is community policing, difficult because of the number of part-time police officers working in various municipalities. The Sheriff’s office has county wide jurisdiction and could take advantage of the opportunity for community relations programs, if given the opportunity to do so, as well as assisting departments in other matters when necessary.
Community policing is only a “bridge” to solidarity. The lack of legitimate opportunity is one of several factors fueling the discontent for all races, exacerbated by poverty, both of which need addressed with legitimate programs keeping children off the streets while mentoring towards a pathway to career opportunities. Sadly enough, many of the building trades are not even able to fill their minority quotas because of a lack of qualified applicants. Certainly Ms. Egley, “fiscal responsibility” is an issue, as is the social responsibility of supporting police and quality of life for all.
Louis W. Gentile
Chairman, Democratic Party of Beaver County