Saturday, October 04, 2008

Not Clear that Karl Dean Is Keeping Campaign Promise on Youth Gun Crimes

The delayed investigation (and the mishandling?) by the Metro Police Youth Services Division of the September 26 shooting of a Salemtown teenager looks like a poor reflection on one of the promises on which Karl Dean campaigned to be Mayor. During his 2007 campaign, Dean promised to cut down on youth crimes, especially crimes involving guns:
The resources to reduce youth crime are already in place, but are not working together. The Enforcement Unit will be a collaboration of School Resource Officers, Juvenile Probation Officers, Youth Services Detectives and members of the Police Intelligence and Gang units.
The total lack of response of a police investigation of the shooting, especially when the victim claims to know who the alleged perpetrator was, signals to me that there is no collaboration or quick response on the part of a Dean administrated MNPD. So, where are the promised changes?

I was not happy when Karl Dean ran on promises that did not include significant support of urban neighborhoods. But to watch the botched response to an attempted gang-related homicide in Salemtown is alarming and it shakes any faith I might have had that Mayor Dean can even keep the promises he made to Nashvillians.

Moreover, I am concerned that this Mayor's Office may not be as committed to security as they claim. I am thinking back to the break in at the Electoral Commission just before New Years. In that incident an alarm system was not operational and the private security company had a reputation for poor quality performance. At that point, Karl Dean had been in office nearly two months. Is a system-wide check of the security measures in Metro buildings not a standard practice in taking the reigns of local government? Is there a pattern of police and security failures in the Dean Administration?

I do not feel as safe as I did before the Karl Dean took office, and I'm wondering where that coordination of police response promise went. Was it just an empty campaign promise to get elected? It would be one thing if the Mayor had not promised better collaboration and a concerted effort to respond to youth gun violence. But Karl Dean promised. So, the buck for the poor response time of Youth Services ultimately rests with him. And he should be judged at re-election time (if not before) on that performance.

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