Bob Lonsberry

Bob Lonsberry

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        Better late than never.


               And now that Malik Evans has made his move, it’s time for Adam Bello and Bob Duffy to make theirs.


               As a 3-year-old fought for his life last night, caught in the crossfire of the gang war that has raged on Clinton Avenue all summer, the mayor finally stood up, in the middle of the street, and said enough was enough.


               He responded immediately, he went to the scene, and he had a plan. Beginning this morning, the Rochester Police Department is going on 12-hour shifts, in part to provide saturation patrols on North Clinton and reassert control of the neighborhood.


               Granted, he should have done this in June, but he didn’t, and people died, including a cop. And it is what it is. But now is always the right time to do the right thing. And steps in the right direction should be recognized and encouraged.


               And last night, Malik Evans did the right thing.


               Today, Adam Bello and Bob Duffy need to do the right thing.


               They need to publicly, clearly and unitedly call for a change to New York’s criminal justice reforms. Specifically, they must demand the governor and legislature modify their bail reform to allow judges to impose bail on repeat offenders and on those who are considered to be a risk to public safety. Judges must be allowed to consider the potential dangerousness of a suspect before that suspect is released, and dangerousness must be allowed as a consideration for setting bail in those rare situations where state law allows bail to be imposed.


               Further, Adam Bello and Bob Duffy need to call for a revisit of the governor and legislature’s new parole rules, which make parole release almost automatic and parole supervision almost nonexistent, and have left parolees the perpetrators of most of the region’s most heinous crimes.


               They must also demand a reform to state raise-the-age legislation which has made young teens increasingly the perpetrators and victims of deadly violence.


               Why Adam Bello and Bob Duffy? Because they are – with Malik Evans – the most powerful people in the area. They are also men who have shown that they have the capability to be competent and compassionate. And because they are the only ones who can do it – and when something needs to be done, and you have the ability to do it, it becomes your duty.


               The Monroe County state delegation has turned its back on crime and crime victims, raising its voice only when sent on a political errand by the governor, and that to denounce those who are concerned about crime and asking for better policies. They don’t give a damn about crime or its victims, and it shows.


               For its part, the law-enforcement community has long raised its voice on these issues and been completely ignored by those in political power. No one listens to the soft-spoken chief, and no one listens to the outspoken sheriff. No one listens to the police chief’s association, and no one listens to the police union.


               Politically, the Republicans are powerless, irrelevant and disorganized; the Democrats are about buttering their own bread and currying favor with the governor; and the congressman can’t see past abortion and the spotted lanternfly.


               There is no media independence or criticism and the clergy are mostly Hochul apostles – ditto for the massive and powerful non-profit and education sectors.


               That leaves nobody – but Adam Bello and Bob Duffy.


               And why should they get involved?


               Adam Bello because he’s up for re-election next year and has the uncertain distinction of having two of his three years in office be the most deadly in Rochester’s history, with a steady overflow of urban crime to suburban communities.


               And Bob Duffy because his conscience tells him he ought to. The memory of his parents, his dreams for his grandchildren, and the truths he knew when he wore a uniform and a badge.


               Further, political disagreements aside, there is the likelihood that these two men are, at their core, good people. They want to do right, they want to serve. They are willing to take a risk to do what is right.


               And this is right.


               This is not partisan, it is not political, it is not left versus right or white versus black.


               It is common sense. It is about saving lives. It is about the strong defending the weak. It is about using the power you have to protect those who gave it to you.


               And this stand now – striking while the iron is hot – creates public pressure in an election season, when elected officials are more compliant with public will. And discussing these matters now, attaching powerful names and titles to this cause, builds a momentum that can lead to legislative change and the saving of Rochester lives.


               You have to get out of your comfort zone and do what needs to be done.


               Malik Evans made his move last night.


               Adam Bello and Bob Duffy need to make theirs today.

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