Bil Browning

Chasing the Clouds Away

Filed By Bil Browning | December 22, 2005 1:25 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics

A small cloud hangs over the joyous celebration of the passage of Proposition 622. Make no mistake, although the effect of the ordinance is chiefly symbolic,what protection it does offer and the value of the symbolism signal an important change for the city. From a laggard with a dubious past, Indianapolis has become a small beacon of freedom and fairness in the heartland.

The cloud is that somehow the law enforcement community might link their perceived loss last Monday with our gain. I devoutly hope they do not. Firstly our gain is their gain. The Human Right Ordinance mentions no group and serves only to make everyone more free, more equal and more secure. Police and deputies will benefit from it as much as anyone else.

Secondly one of the most welcome revelations of this past season of activism is the professionalism of law enforcement in Marion county. From the Statehouse, to the City County Building to the streets, the police have been unfailingly professional and very often human and kind, while doing their job. I know that I speak for the community in saying that we notice and appreciate their behavior. While I do not know enough about consolidation to express an opinion for or against, I suspect that the devil is in the details and I hope that, as they are worked out, the details benefit everyone, especially those who daily put themselves at risk in our service.

If the legislators and all the city county councillors had the professionalism and the understanding of America, and the constitutions of Indiana and the United States that law enforcement in this city display every day, we would not need to be activists. I wish our law enforcement professionals Happy Holidays, Joyous Kwanzaa, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Warming Yule, Iluminating Winter Solstice and every joy of the season and a happy new year that puts their fears about consolidation to rest.

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I do hope that the connection between passage of the police merger with the passage of the HRO does not create a backlash against our community.

However, in all due fairness, in politics, votes are traded all the time. Sometimes, public officials must choose compromise in order to push forward their own agenda.

Compromise is a critical institution in our political process. Without it, much would never get done.