Basic Correctional Officer Academy
Management and administration of the Basic Correctional Officer Academy conducted by the DuPage, Peoria and Sangamon County Sheriffs Offices transitioned back to the Police Training Institute at the University of Illinois. Contact PTI for information concerning upcoming academies at (217)333-6522.
The Death Penalty: One Chief's Thoughts
|Page||147||Total Pages 6|
|Author(s)||Chief Charles A. Gruber|
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|Abstract||In the course of our lives as law enforcement executives, we may be too busy with managing our agency, planning its future operations, and counting our successes by numbers of cases closed or community problems solved to take the time to reflect on the ultimate consequences that result from criminal justice system initiatives. It may be that our faith in the criminal justice system is so great because we who work within it believe that our systemeven with its occasional mishapsis inherently just and fair. It may be that we just never took cognizance and really considered it, but the fact is that there are citizens who are being convicted and sentenced to death for crimes that they did not commit. There are fatal flaws within the criminal justice system, which have, incredibly, sentenced to death totally innocent citizens!In May of 2000, I was asked by a Washington, DC, think tank to join a diverse group of individuals brought together for the specific purpose of reviewing the death penalty in this country. The Constitution Project, a bi-partisan group of Americans housed at Georgetown Universitys Public Policy Institute, was asked to explore modern constitutional dilemmas and seek fair and equitable solutions to the problem of wrongful executions. I was asked to join the Death Penalty Initiative, and in accepting, I joined dozens of esteemed and respected individuals from differing professions and political persuasions from around our great country. I was the only police chief on the committee, and I must confess that I was curious about the invitation to join such a groupa group that included not only constitutional law scholars but also a former state attorney general, a former governor, a victim-rights advocate, a journalist, an archbishop, a former FBI director, and many other distinguished Americans. How would a police chief fit in with this group on such a controversial issue? After all, my job, my entire professional life has been to acquire credible evidence and apprehend criminals. I leave it to others in the criminal justice system to decide and administer appropriate punishment. It has never been a question of being for or against capital punishment; rather, capital punishment has never been the primary focus of our work. I realize now how that indifference is dangerous to the citizens we serve, our investigative approach, and the future perception of professional policing.Early in my law enforcement career, the death penalty issue was generally taboo for police chiefs. For those of us who dared even debate, it risked being categorized as anti-law enforcement or worse, soft on crime. If we are to be stereotyped, we thought, let it be that we are tough on crime. Most of us can remember the phrase Ill be the first to pull the switch. Thankfully, among most police professionals, that is no longer the case. Community policing has enabled us to open our eyes, expand our minds, and conduct deliberate dialogue on an array of policing and social issues; capital punishment is one of them. I am not opposed to the death penalty, and my involvement with this committee did not alter my resolve to that end. I believe that capital punishment is a legitimate form of criminal justice punishment in this country. Nevertheless, my concern lies in the unshakable evidence presented that|