Wilton Manors Police Chief, Task Force, Want Criminal Justice For All

Paul O’Connell is the chief of the Wilton Manors Police Department and the past president of the Broward County Chiefs of Police Association. He has been in law enforcement since 1977 and the Wilton Manor’s chief since 2011. Chief O’Connell previously had a lengthy career at the Broward Sheriff’s Office and was the BSO District Chief for Parkland from 2007-2011.

Last week, in a stunning 96-hour period there was the Imperfect Storm. The officer involved shootings in Baton Rouge and St. Paul, followed by the massacre of police officers in Dallas. Those deaths brought to light, not for the first time or the last time, the gulf between law enforcement and the communities we serve.

It is important that we acknowledge two critical failures.

First, we have a broken society where those who feel left behind are frustrated to the point of violence. This violence is not just on “the system” but on each other as verified by the overwhelming number of crime victims being African-American or “black on black” crime. Every year, approximately 6,000 African-Americans are homicide victims, mostly by other African-Americans. This is an ugly statistic but it is one which must be acknowledged. As an important note, 12% of all white and Hispanic homicide victims are killed by police officers compared to 4% of African-American homicide victims being killed by a police officer. But, the advent of video identifying bad judgment and even criminality on the part of police officers has led to this boiling point.

Opionion written by Wilton Manors Police Chief Paul O’Connell for BrowardBeat.com, excerpt posted on SouthFloridaReporter.com July 12, 2016