20 Jun
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Life Imitates the Simpsons

Ladies and Gentlemen, the story you are about to see is true. The names have not been changed to protect the asinine.

So the above quote is modified from Dragnet, a great police procedural from the 1950s and 60s. If you haven’t seen the show, you’ve probably seen a show like it…the call goes out to the officers in the squad car, something like, “10-20 (Robbery) at Broadway and Reade. Suspect is a tall white male, mid-thirties, brown hair, wearing a brown shirt and blue jeans. Suspect is believed to be armed, and should be considered dangerous. Last seen fleeing north on Broadway. Apprehend.”


Of course, police procedural shows like Law and Order have these types of calls, because that’s how police officers talk. The easiest way by far to identify a subject is by age, gender, and color. This is how cops do their job.

Except that Mayoral Candidate Christine Quinn wishes that the nasty cops didn’t use things like age, gender, and color when describing a suspect. And, being Speaker of the New York City Council who needs to revive her flagging and lackluster mayoral campaign, Quinn wants to do something about it. And fast, because the safety of the citizenry is no excuse for losing one’s primary race.

Juumaane Williams, City Council member from Brooklyn, introduced a bill that bars the NYPD from using race, age, gender, or disability in identifying a suspect, or risk a profiling lawsuit. Not surprisingly,  and perhaps showing the modicum of intellectual ability that is so rare on amongst our esteemed public servants, Public Safety Committee chair Peter Vallone Jr. refused to let the bill out of committee. Quinn, who the New York Times claims typically responds to opposition by threatening castration, chose a different option, and is bringing the bill for an immediate floor vote.

Not surprisingly, the NYPD, the Policeman’s Benevolent Association, and anyone with mental acuity of a dimwitted chipmunk are against the bill. Because barring the NYPD from broadcasting a suspect’s age, race, and gender is asinine.

In fact, Quinn has actually pledged to vote against the bill, once she was assured that there were enough votes for the bill to pass. What this means is that Quinn has engineered the passage of a bill designed to shore up her voting bloc, while at the same time casting a meaningless vote against that very same bill. On second thought, maybe Quinn isn’t as foolish as she seems. Of course, not being one of the 100 people who bought her book last week(again, according to the New York Times), I can neither confirm nor deny whether Quinn is a fool.

So where does this leave our police friends? Certainly less able to handle crime in Dragnet fashion, since they can’t use race, gender, or age to describe a suspect. Tt puts them square in the Chief Wiggum camp. Paraphrasing from The Simpsons episode 4:11, Homer’s Triple Bypass:

Chief Wiggum: Put out an APB for a suspect, driving a… car of some sort, heading in the direction of, uh, you know, that place that sells chili. Suspect is hatless. Repeat, hatless.

chief wiggum everton

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