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Letters for June 4, 2008

Amy, hope you are doing well. I had opportunity to read your article in regard to the police chief forum [“Four left in Winston-Salem chief search”; May 28, 2008; by Amy Kingsley] and follow-up press conference. I’m not sure that your analysis reflects what you intended but it clearly does not project my position on the usefulness of statistics in policing. “Leonard, meanwhile, questioned the usefulness of statistics for battling crime in Winston-Salem.” The response was in regard to jumping on the latest and greatest policing bandwagon and the over-dependence on statistics in policing. I think I was fairly clear in the forum and press gathering that statistical data is used (our COMPSTAT or Crime Review meetings; Atlanta’s COBRA), but is subject to interpretation based on how data is compiled. One of the comments made was questioning what rate of crime we find acceptable. Our crime rates are lower today than 1995 when we were a smaller city with less population but we still view recent trends as problems. That reveals that statistics have to be viewed in a broader context and used as a guide in application of resources. As printed your account appears to contrast candidates but does not accurately reflect what was presented. If I can provide further clarity, please let me know. Kevin B. Leonard Winston-Salem The writer is assistant chief of the Winston-Salem Police Department. I would be very concerned about [Atlanta Police Department Assistant Chief Alan] Dreher’s role in the Kathryn Johnston “raid” which occurred in Atlanta in 2006. While a superior should seek to protect and bolster the officers who serve under him, Dreher apparently went far beyond that. Dreher vigorously defended the officers he later called “rogue officers,” disseminating the lie that Johnston was some sort of “dope-slinging, gun-toting granny.” Considering the past controversies in which the WSPD has been involved (Sykes, Marker), it seems that considering an applicant for chief who comes equipped with recent baggage of a similar sort would be ill-advised. Do we really need more of the same? Sherri Goode Winston-Salem Frenching Brian, Ha! Thought I was back in Cannes! The article is awesome [“Our man in Cannes”; May 28, 2008; by Brian Clarey], just like you said…INDEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Best, Joy Montgomery Long Beach, Calif. Highlight from an anonymous letter we won’t be running: If “God helped Michael kick Satan out of heaven” (Rev. 12:7-9), then who helped Russia defeat Germany during WWII?
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