CHRIS’S CORNER: Before We Castrate the Police

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By: Chris Voccio

Niagara Falls City Council Chairman

There are bad people in the world.

There are bad doctors. There are bad lawyers. There are bad politicians and teachers and accountants. And yes, there are bad cops. What happened to George Floyd was horrific.

We’ve all seen the videos. We’ve all seen Facebook. And we’ve all heard our friends and the commentators pontificate on proper policing. So now we think we’re all experts.

But before we get carried away and second guess every move police officers make, let’s take a deep breath and remember why we have police.

When you hear that bump in the night, when you hear strange voices in your backyard, when you see a stranger ruffling through your car in the driveway in the middle of the night, you will most likely call 911.

When you call 911, you’re not asking for the dispatcher to send a psychiatrist or a social worker. You’re essentially asking for guys or with guns to come quickly.

I think it was George Orwell who supposedly said, “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”

When we watch the videos on Facebook of police doing things that look unpleasant, remember a few things.

Remember that we don’t know everything. We usually didn’t see what happened before the video and we don’t know everything that happened leading up to what we’re watching. We don’t have all the facts.

Remember that, while we’re watching the video on TV or on our phones, probably in comfortable surroundings, the police officer was likely in a challenging situation, with multiple things going through his or her mind, some of them conflicting, and has to make a judgment call, often in milliseconds.

Remember that police officers are human beings. Yes, some of them are bad, just like the bad doctors and lawyers and politicians. But the overwhelming majority are good people who want to keep us safe, and they were trained, wisely, to know that there are bad people in the world who only respond to force.

Taxpayers pay for that force to be applied. When we watch the videos, let’s be cautious about judging exactly how they apply that force.

Otherwise, someday in the future, when the police are all gone and we’re on our own, when we call 911 in the middle of the night the dispatcher may just send a social worker.

Chris Voccio is Chairman of the Niagara Falls City Council and can be reached at


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