Crime bill forum with Janet Reno, Bruce Vento, and William Finney

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Janet Reno, U.S. attorney general; Bruce Vento, Minnesota congressman; and William Finney, St. Paul police chief, present their views as panelists at a crime bill forum. The panel also answer audience questions.

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Before I ask my question, I would like to also welcome attorney general Reno to the state of Minnesota the home of one of the largest Chicano Latino population in the midwest. My question is with regards to the immigration Naturalization Service, which I understand is under us jurisdiction in Minnesota Mexican, undocumented compromise less than one-third of the total undocumented yet a hundred percent of the Rays that is the border patrol rage have occurred at Mexican worksites. And so my question has two parts. The first part is whether your immigration Naturalization Service has a policy of targeting Mexicans for deportation. And secondly if the answer is no how is it that of the total 241 people deported 93 240 were MexicanThank you. Thank you very much as the child of an immigrant who came first to Racine Wisconsin where people teased him about his funny language and his funny clothes. I understand and appreciate and honor this nation's tradition as a nation of immigrants and I want to do everything that I can to continue that tradition. Obviously. One of our responsibilities is to do something about illegal immigration having come from Miami. I have seen what immigrants have done for our community. They have made it a stronger better more vital area, but it is also placed a burden on the community balancing that tradition and understanding how we deal with it. I think will be one of the most significant issues that I deal with as attorney general just this past week the United States Senate confirmed arse Meisner as commissioner of theNation and Naturalization Service and I will ask her to address this issue and to make sure that there is no disparate treatment in any fashion whatsoever. One of the things that government has got to do is to reflect its policy in everything. It does a policy against any discrimination whatsoever based on race or any other arbitrary feature and we have also got to reflect the diversity of America America's strength lies in its difference. It's we should prize it and we should bring it together to get the best of all of us.Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen before I call up our next questioner. I want to read out some names of those of you in the audience who we would like to come forward with the following four individuals come down. What is my on my right side the aisle in front of the panelists, please Joyce cook Douglas riegert Patrick Bell and Nancy gray. Would you please come down front and on the aisle on my left or your right with the following individuals? Please come down to the front Elizabeth Flannery Katie Baron David Bloom Steen and Lee Brewer. So if you would join us up at the front and we will call upon you shortly for your questions our next person. However to ask a question is Susan Emoto Susan. Thank you. I'd like to direct my question to Congressman Bruce vento as an expert on the process.What do you think the chances are for the crime Bill to pass and what will it mean to my East Side neighborhood? Well, thanks. Thanks Susan for the question. Thank you Susan for the question. The I think that that the as you know, the president has proposed Congress has had a number of bills called crime bills over the decade of the 80s and it seemed like every election year. In fact, we were acting on a crime bill which I think is a telling point. But in any case, I think the major issue in terms of policy first bill is our change in priorities at the national level to large extent on the budget because many of the programs and resources that we need on the east side and across communities that face challenges is the types of change in priorities, which will deliver more dollars for healthcare for social services and for other programs, but the major issue in the crime bill this year. The president has emphasized the commitment to add 50,000 new police officers people inOn the street cops on the beat. That's what they refer to it as and that's what they want to do. And I think if we look at how they can be used and how they are being used in the community like st. Paul. It can mean a great deal whether they're on mountain bikes whether they're whether they're on the Beats order to speak. It also course is an effort within this to deal with the river of guns that are on the streets the the uses and the and the handguns they're going to we're going to try to coerce to provide resources to intervene where families face problems. We're trying to obviously deal with with help to deal with the threat of gangs and drugs the type of boot camp programs that will not turn juvenile defender or do banal delinquents into a hardened criminal. So the tools wereExecution whether it's a DNA lab and of course the rehabilitation types of reforms dealing with those that are on Addiction in the paper today in Washington, the the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation pointed out in 1990 that our country spent two hundred and sixty billion dollars on because of alcohol and drug and other types of addiction that has occurred that caused human health and other types of problems. Of course, the bill has in more laws dealing with the death penalty. One of them is you can't murder a member of Congress. Are you get the death penalty? Well, I think figuratively probably that will still be permitted and of courseAnd of course rules dealing with habeas corpus and laws of evidence which are somewhat complicated but very important in terms of the issues that in terms of the individual rights, but these will continue to be debate now you ask me when is all this going to happen? I think the committee's are starting action, but they will not completed until next year. Hopefully early next year, you know, the bill has been held up because of a filibuster in the senate in 1992. Hopefully that won't happen again largely held up because of some of the issues in it as we heard here tonight are controversial but nevertheless. I think there's a growing consensus this nation around dealing with even those controversial controversial portions of the bill. So I hope we can move forward attorney general may have some comments on this one of the central features of the bill is the provision for up to 50,000 Community police officers on the streets in form and fashion that can support the local police effort that the chief is just talked aboutCongress has already passed a supplemental jobs Bill providing for a hundred and fifty million dollars for Community Police. And we in the Department of Justice have tried to develop a partnership with local law enforcement so that we get your questions answered Chief and so that we get Monies to the communities where it can really help. I think a good police officer who cares about her or his community who wants to involve the community in problem solving is one of the most important people in our communities today and this bill will go a long ways towards enhancing that effort for departments around the nation. Thank you. Our next question will come from Ron Pauline.Good evening. It's a pleasure being here and Welcome to our city. I'm the director of Aurora Saint Anthony area block club, which is a 32 block area. And my concern is somewhat Grassroots. I do support more police officers so that we can enforce the laws, but the problem lie real heavily in the court system. I've seen officers do a magnificent job, but then I've seen the court system tend not to to enforce laws that we have on the books. I'm addressing addressing primarily disruptive and disrespectful Behavior. And it can start with misdemeanors like vagrants lautering. truancy and I'm wondering my question is that is it at all possible that in this United States of America? That we can establish standards of behavior that cut across ethnic lines and make people accountable. Well panel members which one of you would like to tackle that one first attorney general Reno. I think we have a new day in America, which says trust the people and when you trust the people that means you trust them enough and believe in people enough to hold them responsible and accountable. It means that you trust them enough to know that they can be self-sufficient that they can hold their own if they're given half a Fighting Chance too often and too many situations. We bind people up and rules and regulations and circumstances that make it very difficult. We spend more money sometimes on determining whether somebody is eligible for service rather than providing a small service up front that will keep them self-sufficient independent accountable and responsible one of the best programs that I have seen. One of the best programs that I have seen was in Miami where we had a group of young people who did a lot of different things. They were not accountable. Some of them were mean bad's others were little what I call wannabes who were guilty of a whole range of things from graffiti vagrancy everything else. And police officers and citizens in the community were asking me the very same thing. What we did was put together a team composed of a community friendly highly respected police officer who was known in the community. He was firm, but he was fair a social worker from the community a public health nurse from the community and a community organizer the community decided where the team started working and they started working where this group was involved. They call themselves for no better name the Ninja Turtles. That group was going strong. They were guilty of some very serious crimes and other problems. We started April a year ago that team working with the community as a partner. Had so reduced crime had pull kids back into the mainstream by treating them with respect by giving them somebody to listen to by setting an example for them by holding them accountable that by August of that year of last year the police and everybody else wanted to put the team in other areas as well. Then Hurricane Andrew devastated that whole neighborhood so they got into a reactive mode, but they're coming back to being proactive. I think the best way you start achieving your goal is start putting people into the community who can demand the best of our young people and their families expect the best and then give them that helping hand that lets them know they can do it. May I call on our next questioner Douglas Rieger Douglas? My question is really aimed at attorney general Reno. I want to take something that's been happening in the news lately in regards to the television debate. This this week. I think you were before a subcommittee of some sort before the Senate and you basically are addressing the television violence issue and my question is don't you think that's a little simplistic maybe overly simplistic to hold a TV television and say the movie industry responsible for the violence. We see in our society. I see a growing Trend in that direction it started with music and I think If we all look back to I don't know how old everyone is here. But if we look back to our own childhood there was plenty of violence in cartoons and you've heard they the other issues that doesn't seem to apply now. I don't understand how we can say that simply somebody watching television or watching a movie makes them inherently violent or promotes violence when there are many of us who watched the same shows and have no effect. That's my question it is To answer your question. It is simplistic to say that TV is the only cause but in the statement I made to the Senate I began by saying just that that I did not come to appear before the Senate to suggest that TV violence was the cause of violence in America. I pointed out that one of the first steps that we had to take was to focus on the truly dangerous criminals, the career criminals make sure that we had truth in sentencing and that those people were held accountable by our courts and that we had sufficient prison cells to house them for the length of time. The judges were sentencing them that we needed boot camps that let our youngsters know that there was no excuse for putting a gun upside somebody's head and hurt them and they were going to be punished but after being punished they were going to have an opportunity to come back to the community but I suggested that violence was a symptom of a deeper problem in society. And that is that too often. We have forgotten and neglected our children in America and that To raise strong and healthy violence-free children. We have got to First make sure that parents are wise enough and prepared enough to be able to properly take care of their children and raise them. We've got to make sure that I continued to suggesting to the senate committee that Healthcare is absolutely essential as I go back through children's case histories that I prosecuted you too often see failure to provide preventative Healthcare and Healthcare reform is a must for this nation 023. Zero to three is the most formative time in a person's life when a kid to oftentimes doesn't watch television. That's when he learns the concept of reward and Punishment and develops a conscience 50% of all learned human responses learned in the first year of life, but for too many of our children family and institutions have fallen away and you have children wandering around public housing developments at two years old not supervised without structure. We've got to do something about that. Even if we do work. Well there we've got kids who grow up to go to elementary school who have afternoons and evenings when they are unsupervised and when I see what block programs can do and what other community initiatives can do in terms of providing wonderful after school in the evening programs and what volunteers throughout America are doing in terms of providing alternatives for our children that's critical conflict resolution programs in the Elementary schools can teach people how not to resort to violence jobs are important. We have got to make sure and the school to work program that the Administration has advocated is extremely important in terms of making sure our children graduate with skills that can enable them to earn a living wage that's going to keep them out of violence in trouble improving our public schools in every way possible in recognizing that a teacher's time has got to be freed to teach and let somebody else deal with the other problems that too often. Our burden teachers are burdened with is important. But every study that's been done. Every study that's been done says that one of one of the many causes of violence is TV now music is different. because in situations where television comes into the home in terms of what can be broadcast during children's hours in terms of reporting violence. One of the points made by one of the Senators was why don't we have a report card for violence and my suggestion to the media was why don't you just provide the report card and they said that's a good idea but they keep saying these things are good ideas, and then they don't do very much about it and they come before the senate committee and they say we're reducing violence and we don't have violence on Monday evening. And then you see more of it all I am suggesting is and it was interesting to me to watch the response of the television industry afterwards. Where many of them are ready to take the pledge and start doing something about it and if all America teachers television industry police and everybody start working together and say we're fed up with violence. It's going to make a difference. I want to add to that because I think it's a very important point in terms of the issue of censorship and nobody wants Bruce vento or Jesse Helms or someone telling what you can watch on television, but the point is that as this affects young people in our society. They don't have the frame of reference. They don't have the family guidance and limitations that would be desirable in terms of steering away from watching these types of events on television and you know those programs or that film they last an hour to and when it's over that's the beginning and end of human emotion, when these violent events occur in our community, which are inexplicable. They affect dozens of people for the rest of their lives in terms of what's Happening, they in fact and life in some instances. So I think it's important that we began to as a community speak out and recognize the impact that this can have on a young Young people and provide the type of guidance and support that's necessary. I think if we do that we won't have and I don't think we can pass laws on each of these particular questions to deal with it, but we certainly have to be aware of it as a community. And as As Leaders such as attorney general Reno who has spoken out to this particular issue, whether it's the rap music a lot of that can be turned around if we analyze it and people take an interest in what young people in our community are doing got a bigger population of them. They have more difficulties their frame of reference in terms of what's right and wrong is not working. We can see it in the headlines of our papers in this city and we have to address that and it's not coming. It's coming from the sort of suggestive behavior that exists in these films in these television programs that we have to hold those that we give the use of the public Airways to as a privilege that is not something they have a right to that is something that we give exclusively to them to use to broadcast their televisions programs or their radio programs. And we have a responsibility to deal in address that in a way that will will provide an opportunity and a frame of reference that deals with the values and behavior and the changes. And what about the impact is in our community? Thank you our next question or Katie Baron Katie Baron. She's a good. Thank you. St. Paul, it's a pleasure to have you here see you here and especially you know, your response is our most gracious. The question is except and this is addressed to the panel except for law enforcement officials. How can you and how can we get guns off the streets? All right. All right. Let's let the panel answer. Let's let the panel answer which one of you would like to begin attorney general. First of all, you've got to support all the efforts to get the Brady Bill passed. It's not the finally. All right. Let's let the Attorney General complete or comments, please. There is no reason why you shouldn't have to make sure that a person is capable of safely and lawfully using weapon. Secondly, we have got to get a ban on assault weapons, which are not used for sporting purposes past. But then there are still a lot of guns in the hands of people throughout the country who do not know how to safely and lawfully use them and I for one it's my own personal feeling think that anybody that possesses a gun wherever they possess it and for whatever they possess it for if he got ahead take a driving license test, you ought to take a gun test that demonstrates, you know, how to safely and lawfully use it. Now I discovered something because I was always called to debate the NRA in Miami. And so I'd go to the television station and get all prepared and have all my facts and figures and I discovered there were two branches of the NRA one that just believe there should be no regulation and the other the believe that as I do that you shouldn't have a gun unless you're capable of safely and lawfully using it and you know how to safely in lawful use it Chief any We take a look at some of the things that caused so much fear in the minds of so many Twin City ins and minnesotans across the state and we realize that guns are a good deal of the part of that the random wanton discharge of firearms Across the Nation and while I agree with things that have been said, we also have to take a very very strong no tolerance look no tolerance approach to anyone who would use a firearm in the commission of any type of crime or on pointing according to anyone else. Earlier this year. We had some individuals who had a grievance amongst each other and decided to shoot it out in broad daylight across the street from a playground full of young children. Some very very active parents took a good deal of effort upon themselves Terry Walker and I had to mention her and Terry Walker McLaughlin came forward and said that we've had it we're not going to tolerate it and we saw some citizen action and you demanded that your police chief and your city your city and county attorney and your counsel people show up at that meeting and you express your outrage and you got results. I think like I said before that you're going to have to insist that with the guards two guns that we do not have any leniency upon anyone who steals possesses that walks up and down the streets. Wantonly discharges firearms that those individuals are the ones that you want in jail, and those are the ones we want to put there. Congressman Congressman vento what's the headcount? If you will in Congress in terms of the enactment of some of the tougher? Well, I think that the Tonys obviously we've had a handgun registration and Minnesota for 20-some years much modeled after what would happen with the Brady Bill. So I don't you know, you're in the land of hunters here as you can see they gave her a pin earlier with the Loon on and the lady slipper, but they didn't have the whitetail deer in any case the the count I think is, you know strongly in favor of that bill in the house about three two one and the Senate we got the votes but we don't necessarily always are not able to avoid the filibuster. We're a minority of senators 41 can talk at death and that's increasingly been a tactic when you don't have the votes to attempt to to subvert. What is a the majority will in the Senate and so it's a minority of the minority you might say that's that is causing the problem. And I think you know we're in for it's a more complex society. We're going to have to have more regulation of firearms in the use of them. And then I think to get proactive in terms of dealing, you know, one of the issues recently with the guns is pointed out even if you have a gun in your home we talked about in st. Paul. We have something like fourteen thousand calls a year in domestic violence the gun in the home and the unsecured gun in the home presents a real problem. Even for those that may have it registered. So there's some other manifestations of this that we have to consider in terms of what the impact is in our community and Society we've got I mean when you start putting out when we gets pretty tough school and I went to Johnson the old one not this new one, but we didn't have metal detectors to get into the school, you know, and that's really where we're headed in The Next Century. I don't think that's the type of society that the people in this community want. I understand what you're saying in terms of your rights and responsibilities, but I also think we have to recognize what's happening with our young people in the streets. We pick up the paper almost any day in October the first week turning Junior. One of the points the chief made I think we've really got to consider and that is the zero tolerance for people who hurt others with guns and it's very important because throughout America police officers as he says are doing their job. They're arresting people in many instances. The courts are following through you're getting stiff sentences and in too many places in the country. There are not enough prison cells to House people for the length of time the judges her sentencing them. I think it is imperative that for violent crime. We make sure that in the state and federal system. We have truth in sentencing and we have sentences that meet the fit the crime that's going to mean that we've got to free our prison cells for the truly dangerous offenders for the major traffickers and the major distributors. In the in the federal system today as I watch people getting out prematurely around this country for violent crimes in the state system because they're not enough prison cells. We have people who are sentenced to 10 years minimum mandatory her non-violent first offenders charged with a small participation in a drug deal and they're spending 10 years. We've got to make sure that our prison cells are used the right way to focus on violence and that for people who For people who are in prison who haven't heard anybody who are there because they've got a drug problem that we develop a good old-fashioned carrot and stick approach that says, okay, you're going to be punished or we're going to work with you in terms of treatment and job training and placement and bring it back to the community with a Chance of succeeding. And yet all three of you are aware of the fact that that largely punishment in the criminal justice system legitimate punishment is viewed by the public is only occurring when someone is sent to prison and yet there are a whole range of sanctions that are used in are available. How do you and do you think you have a role to play in getting the public to believe that these other sanctions have some legitimacy? Well, I've used the classic example the story I heard about of the fellow who was in federal prison for five years for drug dealing He explained that he was 25 years old that he got three Square meals a day clean sheets an opportunity for recreation and an opportunity to do correspondence work on his college degree. He got a head his money all squirreled away someplace and when he got out he'd never have to work again. I want to make sure that he's hit in the pocketbook so that he knows that it's something more than a five-year business expense. One of the one of my roles was working on the the S&L problem in dealing with the SNL law violators. And the problem was that the courts would in fact put in effect the the fine but they don't collect any of the fines. And so I think that there is a I think putting someone that's an SNL executive in prison for three years or a Millikan. It may serve some particular purpose in terms of the The public's feeling but you're probably a lot better off trying to to expect from him the money for the services and other way in terms of penalizing and that way in fact, I think that as a state legislator, I wrote one of the first laws that dealt with the compensation of Crime Victims in the state and since then it's been much and it's been much improved on but looking at different ways and one of the provisions of that which I think could be expanded is to provide an opportunity for the perpetrator to actually help in terms of Trying to make up for the wrong that he did in terms of affecting that particular individual a tough thing to do but it serves I think a purpose in the end of make people come face-to-face. I recall one of the judges when there are a lot of accidents and people were drinking and driving he made some of the those that had committed the violations go down and sit in the emergency room to see the types of things that happen to people that come in off the street as a result of accidents. And so these types of innovative sentencing and Innovative means do both the job in terms of Rehabilitation and the job of Correction and some help to the community. I think are positive way to deal with it Chief any thank you Congressman Dental. I don't know about you folks, but that's the kind of Attorney General I can I can work with what? We're scared. These are our community. These are our neighborhoods and there are people that are disrupting our way of life in this town and we're tired of it and what we want what we want is people that are doing that type of disruption to go to jail as a law prescribes. They want them to stay in jail to they do their sins. So for that period of time, we know that one of our members of our family our neighbors our loved ones or just another Saint Paul lights going to be safe walking down the street and to anybody that's carrying a gun. When I talk to many people out here anybody who illegally carrying a gun and feels that because they have that gun they can wantedly and promiscuously discharge firearms and bullets all through this town without care to who those bullets may hit those individuals have demonstrated to those of us in st. Paul that they want to be incarcerated and we want to help them be there. My question is addressed to current attorney general Janet Leigh, no plays as a former Dade County prosecutor, you know that the Florida law provides for law-abiding citizens And I stress law-abiding to carry concealed weapons. You also know this is almost never abused from your personal experience. So will you support legislation at the national level to give law-abiding American citizens a concealed carry permit. I'm the mother of four children. I am one of the resourceful people I think you talked about but I'm tired of hearing crime and rape especially I cannot match the strength of a man. I don't think it makes sense. I don't think it makes any difference whether you carry a firearm concealed or not concealed. I think the real issue is number one. You should not be permitted to carry a firearm or possess a firearm. If you have evidenced an inability or an unwillingness to safely in lawfully use it and secondly, I don't think you should possess a firearm until you evidence, uh, nobility and an understanding of the laws and to safely in lawfully use it. So I've never really distinguished in terms of concealed firearms I've done as I said earlier, I think people should only be permitted to possess Firearms when they deserve demonstrate the clear capacity and the understanding and the knowledge of how to safely and lawful use it given that opportunity if they abuse it I think the opportunity should be revoked instantly. I hear that question many many times people ask me Chief any how can I get a permit to carry a firearm and I experienced the frustration of that but I should say to you also that only one of my police officers carries a firearm and across the nation and in this town also, even though those officers are carrying a firearm. We know that when we get into situations and violent situations that there's always a gun involved because of the firearm. We carry we have a special obligation to secure that firearm so that someone who in a heat of passion may get a whole that firearm and do harm not only to the police officer, but to others around them often when police officers are killed increasingly, they're killed with their own firearms to the point to where all the sirs that we're and we require that they wear vests. Their protection ballistic vest we require that the vest they wear defeats the bullet that they carry in their own firearm because so many Firearms are taking away from people that do carry them. So that's the particular dilemma that I have as a police official that when I hear citizens raise the question, how can I get a firearm? How can I carry one? I asked them. My staff does what is the need? Why do you want to do this? Have you considered it? And also we expect that anyone that we do issue a firearm to that they are fully Versed and trained and can demonstrate proficiency with that weapon. All right, our next questioner David Bloom Steen. Is that correct? David David Malmsteen are you with us? So it was already answered. Well, then Lee Brewer Lee Brewer. Please step forward to the mic. Attorney general renal now that the rental Reginald Denny trial is over. Does it justice department plan to bring additional charges against those defendants or do you feel that justice has been served this time. We are going to wait until sentencing and review all the information in the case what the court does in terms of sentencing with the US attorney's office in Los Angeles and make a decision at that time attorney general Reno as you're well aware the cases that have occurred in California this past year have been clouded in issues of race and racism and if we look at our Criminal Justice System population today, we see an extraordinarily disproportionate number of African-American men in an increasing number of African-American women in our criminal justice system and in our prisons, Is the system racist in part of there was a study done of the implementation of Florida's career criminal statute because many people felt that there was discrimination and its application experts reviewed it and determined that only to State Attorneys out of 20 in the states did not in the state did not discriminate on the grounds of race. Fortunately. My office was one of them, but it was because we had put a lot of time and effort into making sure that what we did was fair and was non-discriminatory. What struck me was that a number of the state attorneys were so shocked to find that there was unintentional evidence of discrimination and they took immediate steps to correct it before I left Miami our system had gotten so automated that I hoped we could And develop full information that would permit us to determine whether there was discrimination at the charging decision at diversion at probation versus jail at length of sentences. And I think it's imperative that we do that in this nation. There is so much that we must do it every step of the way to make sure that there is no discrimination. There is so much that we must do in our neighborhoods and our communities in our schools everywhere we go in valuing the diversity and the difference in America and understanding what a remarkably wonderful and different and diverse nation. That is our next our next questioner, I think at the at the mic on my right. Is it gay Bakken? Is that correct gay? Panel as a proud Urban dweller here in St. Paul for the past 16 years. My question is what is your response to Urban dwellers who move to the suburb to escape school inner-city school and neighborhood crime Congressman vento. I'm going to give that one to you first. Well, I think that clearly what's what's amiss here is the conception that they're the idea that somehow they're going to be safe that they can somehow move away from where there are the appearance of problems the st. Paul papers just this week that a series demonstrating the what the statistics are and they found that in fact, I think surprising to many that some of the suburbs actually have a higher rate incident of violent crime and other types of crime then some neighborhoods in st. Paul and I think the real answer in terms of the problems that some parts of st. Paul or urban areas are having where there are higher incidents of crime then some Suburban communities is really for an involvement and that is to get the community involved not only that but sometimes the incidents involve people that low and behold don't come from the city of st. Paul but come from those wonderful safe suburbs. And so I think there isn't any I don't think that the suburbs can survive without At the city's I think they're endured interdependent. I think you aren't going to be able to move away from the types of problems. We're talking about with violence think we as a community have to work and it's our job nationally the state level to provide resources to communities to help but help those communities get along st. Paul Minneapolis specially, I think my own Community has taken a big job in terms of dealing with immigrant populations, you know, we have a big population a young population and it really isn't so much the incidence of crime is it is sometimes can be described demographically and we're really looking at some of the problems that of the disadvantaged or families that need to reach out to the community to gain the types of resources and assistance that historically had been present from a family support and so at we can fill the gaps we can deal with those particular issues if we get ahead of it and I think that Chief Vinny and his Department talked about something that I think is important instead of just Reactive to the crisis to try to be proactive in terms of dealing and preventing these problems from erupting into the types of violent incidents that occur but you can't run away from this particular problem. You can't move away from it. It's going to follow you you're going to encounter it in these communities and I think it's really time that we face up to this not being a contest between suburb and urban dweller City. It's something we have to we have to deal with on a holistic basis as a community throughout the state of Minnesota and the nation. Thank you. all right, we're going to take one more question and then go to some brief closing comments from our panelists and we will take the closing question if it comes from Meg Albertson make For the entire panel, please comment. And what you see is each individual's response to Crime. We have institutional responses like law enforcement in prison for sort of the big things. But what is the caring citizen to do when they witness things like shoplifting or for example, seeing a parent beating their child in a public place? Chief well, I think that you know and I was going to say this my closing comment, but I guess I'll I'll get involved in it. Now. I think that we have to realize that we all have to take an active role now and that doesn't mean that you actively intervene in the particular situation but we have an obligation to do what you can and one thing that you have and one thing that we liked from the citizens and st. Paul. It's a let us know let us know so we can begin to address the issue. You see somebody always thinks that somebody else is calling the police. No, you'd be surprised a lot of times we've had shootings where people have been on the streets or somebody else that witnessed it thought somebody else is going to notify the police and no one did and we had a person that lie I was laying in the street for an hour or two before we got a call for that. So those are the things take an active role understand that we don't expect you. I don't expect you to be a police officer. But I do expect you to be a strong concerned citizen. Congressman Ben oh Well, I think you we can take a passive attitude. You have to take an attitude of being involved. I think sometimes when I was a kid and I did something wrong. My my parents knew the news traveled a lot faster than I did in terms of what was going on. And so that sense of community is something that we have to re-establish not a detached involvement that were not involved. I remember reading a letter to the editor where someone saw an adult man beating a child and the closer he got he thought they were just horsing around but when he finally got three ran in and he tried to deal with her challenge the individual not enought each of us can do that not each of us has the ability or the or the will to do that particular type of action, but clearly we have to be involved. I think there's a role for all of us whether it's at working at a neighborhood Recreation Center tutoring from a school and and I served and worked for 10 years as an educator and believe me. We need all the help we can get in terms of these communities where we don't have a family we have to bring in To fill those gaps, and there's a lot of times that kids aren't in school that they need the type of help and guidance and assistance that you can help you find in almost every Endeavor. We have a problem today whether its buying house, whether it's in the criminal justice system that we need people that will do counseling that will help people make the critical difference between them being able to perform in our society and not but that takes people to be involved and there's no no running away from it not even out into the best Serb suburbs in the Twin Cities. My favorites answer to that question comes from a 13 year old girl who was dragged into my office by her mother the thirteen-year-old was a witness to a mugging. She was walking behind an old lady on her way home from school. When a car Screech to a halt the passenger jumped out knock the old lady down from behind grabbed her purse and took off the girl got most of the license plate number of good description of the car ran call 911 and the car was apprehended with the old lady's purse down the road. The mother came in and said, I don't want my daughter to testify I'm afraid for and the little girl turned to her mother and said Mama I've got to testify that's the American way to do things. Well, we know that there are many more questions out there, but I'm afraid the bewitching hour has arrived Chief Finney any other further thoughts I guess is we close out this community Forum so much so much, but just remember, you know, for those of us that would seek Solitude and in the suburbs you can run but you can't hide every day. Every day we see in the news media violent crimes, which we used to associate with the inner inner inner city has of Minnesota now happening out there. No suburbs terrible crimes where women walk into their homes after being gone and our gun down or assaulted those things are just happening in st. Paul. And in fact some of the statistics show that less of them are happening in st. Paul. It may be have more of an opportunity for that happen to you out some of our suburbs, but we can make a difference in st. Paul st. Paul is not over the hill st. Paul has some challenges ahead of it, but when we pull together and we decide that we're not going to be pushed out of our neighborhoods that we're going to take a stand that we're going to work with other social agencies and your Police Department your Police Department, which is one of the best police department in the country and I'm proud to serve at when you want to work with us. We're going to work with you and we will make your lives and your communities and our neighborhoods much safer place to live. attorney Attorney General Janet Reno any final thoughts. This has been an incredible adventure for me in these last eight months eight months ago. I was minding my own business thinking that I would be a prosecutor in Dade County for another four-year term. The American people are so great. They are so strong, but I would like to share with you probably the lesson that I've carried with me these eight months that I told the Senate Judiciary Committee as I was confirmed. We lived in a little house when I was 10 years old. It was a little frame house and we had four children a year apart. We didn't have enough room and we were outgrowing the house. My father didn't have enough money to hire a contractor to build a house when afternoon my mother picked us up at school and on the way home. She told us she was going to build a house and we said what do you know about building a house? And she said I'm going to learn and she went to The Brick Mason and to the electrician and to the plumber and she learned how to build that house and she dug the foundation with her own hands with a pick and shovel. She laid the block She put in the wiring she put in the plumbing in my father and friends helped her with the heavy work or special problems on weekends and at night when he got home from work. She and I lived in that house until she died this past December and every time I came down that driveway and saw that house standing there. It was assembled to me that you can do anything. You really want to if it's the right thing to do and you put your mind to it and I look at all the problems that we face in America and after seeing so many wonderful American people in these last month's I'm convinced that we can deal with the problem of crime deal with the problem of Children at Risk if we put our minds to it and build carefully step by step, but there was a sequel to that story because on the morning of April the 24th Hurricane Andrew hit our area very badly. The winds began to Howl at about two o'clock in the morning and she woke up went over sat in her chair. I had the house all boarded up the wind's just howl and screamed and trees crashed around the house and she folded her hands and just sat there for she was unafraid because she knew how she'd built that house and she built it without cutting Corners. She put in the right materials. She did it the right way and I have never been more convinced that America is on the road to rebuilding the right way.


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