Report By Richard Geno
With the American Legion Hall once again packed to capacity, Pete Constant, retired San Jose police officer and current 1st District City Councilman, introduced our guest speaker, Joseph McNamara, the 15-year San Jose Chief of Police. Several officers of the Police Officers Association attended the meeting.
Joseph McNamara indicated right from the start that he wanted to bring the group into what he called "the strange world that is the policeman's." With some very humorous stories of his experiences in his early career in Harlem in New York City, he drew in the crowd. Joseph also shared some tragic stories of experiences on the streets of Harlem, Kansas City and San Jose. Before serving as police chief for 15 years in San Jose, he served as the Chief of Police in Kansas City for three years.
Joseph shared that his first arrest in Harlem was a murder arrest. He recounted how a police officer is thrust into danger at a moment's notice. A supposed routine arrest can suddenly become a very dangerous situation, and a life-threatening action. He talked about when he unknowlingly gave a parking ticket to Malcolm X as hundreds of Harlem citizens looked on.
Joseph strongly captured the crowd as he recounted the details of the death of two great police officers in one day which emanated from the attempt by Officer Gene Simpson to protect the patrons and business owners at 5th and Santa Clara Streets where a deranged homeless person was disturbing the peace in the neighborhood for several hours earlier in that day.
The assailant shot and killed Officer Simpson as backups were called in. One of the backup officers was Gordon Silva, who also ended up dead that dreadful day, which Joseph McNamara described as the worst day of his career. Gene Simpson was close to retirement, and Gordon Silva's non-work avocation was collecting clothing for the homeless.
Joseph indicated that Police Citizen Review Boards increase crime. They are a "symbol" that not only increases crime, but also causes more relationship problems between the police and the community. He also touched on some of the liberal judges who undermine the morale of the police on the street.
During the Q&A, Joseph was critical of Janet Napolitano's references to "isolated incident" when referring to the recent terrorist attacks at Fort Hood and over the skies of Detroit. He indicated that Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to prosecute CIA officials might be the reason no officials came forward to tell the authorities about the Detroit bomber.
Great speech, great discussion, and a great turnout. All-in-all, another great Conservative.
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