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One lesson we can learn from the deadly Waffle House shooting

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Truly honoring crime victims requires a serious analysis of how to prevent future tragedies. 

On Monday, police arrested a man believed to be responsible for shooting and killing four people in a Nashville Waffle House. As the community grieves and information about the killer’s motives surface, we’re left with serious questions about the basic functions of our justice system.


After receiving pressure from the community, a judge revoked the shooter’s $2 million dollar cash bail, which is good – clearly, the primary suspect in a mass shooting shouldn’t be free to walk among us. But it begs the question, “Why was someone accused of killing four people in a senseless rampage even considered for pretrial release?”
There are two sides to the cash bail problem coin. The first is that people who can’t afford bail end up sitting behind bars at the taxpayer’s expense for weeks, sometimes months, without being tried or convicted of a crime. According to the Pretrial Justice Institute, six out of t…

Surrounded by pain, I witnessed the meaning of love - Chief Tom Synan

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Opinion to the Cincinnati Inquirer
Chief Tom Synan
Published April 20th, 2018
There has been so much pain when it comes to heroin. So much suffering that it can be tough to find any semblance of love in the experiences of those impacted by the epidemic. Last year I was in my office when I got a call from a father I had never met, begging me to help him save his daughter, Dominique. Harold Warren pleaded for me to drive the streets of Cincinnati to find her before she overdosed and died. I have never heard such desperation. “I don’t want my daughter to die,” he said. A simple, reasonable plea any real father would have for his child. I was bound legally by what I could and could not do for him. But I have to be honest, it would have been worth losing my badge to make sure this father did not have to mourn the loss of his baby girl. It took over 30 people and agencies fighting every day to keep her alive. We didn't end Dominique's addiction, but we ensured Harold didn't become a…

CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM IS WORKING

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Guest Opinion
Special to the Ventura County Star 
Published April 14th, 2018
As someone who devoted my entire professional career to law enforcement, I believe in the smart administration of criminal justice: using our resources to maximize public safety. This means preventing crime in the first place, providing treatment over incarceration in cases where it can stop the revolving doors of prison and jail, and removing those whose violent behavior is chronic and a clear danger to a community.

Decades of costly mass incarceration have led many Californians to agree. Recent criminal justice reforms passed by a clear majority in California have begun to bring balance back to a system that invested far too much, and for too long, in responding to criminal conduct and not nearly enough in local crime prevention programs. The conventional wisdom of the past favored harsher sentencing and longer imprisonment. That’s why California is in the incarceration mess it is in today.

But reform initiativ…

Volunteer Appreciation Week - Honoring our Speakers

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“Should I Never Have Been Given a Second Chance?”

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How a second chance made all the difference for one former gang member

As in years past, President Trump has proclaimed the month of April as SecondChance Month. The White House press release stated, “We encourage expanded opportunities for those who have worked to overcome bad decisions earlier in life and emphasize our belief in second chances for all who are willing to work hard to turn their lives around.” SecondChance month reminds us of what is possible when we take responsibility for our lives and refuse to be defined by past mistakes and circumstances; it celebrates the strength it takes for someone to reinvent themselves in the face of legal barriers working against them. One of the best examples of a life that was most certainly headed toward prison or an early death is that of Deputy Inspector Corey Pegues (Ret.), former crack cocaine dealer turned decorated NYPD officer and Law Enforcement Action Partnership speaker. In his award-winning memoir, Once a Cop, The Street, the La…