–submitted by Carelyn Sheppard
Police chief Jeffrey S. Katz recently spoke to the Chester Lions Club.
He has had eight months to settle into his “new” job, since moving from Florida, and put forth his programs for the county as it moves forward.
The efforts and those of his officers toward the youth and athletics should be commended and expanded by the citizens of Chesterfield County.
Katz is a very personable man with numerous good ideas, but the most impressive thing is his attitude.
The news media across the country and world has frequently gone too far in terms of videos and information being taken out of context and selectively edited. Katz made several excellent points with regard to that.
First of all, he said that it was good to have all of the information, and for people to realize that anything that they say or do may be recorded.
He was adamant that his officers’ body cameras are not for public access or use by the media. They may be used for court, but nothing else.
He pointed out that anyone can have a bad day or make bad choices and decisions, which is frequently when or why the police would be involved.
There is no reason to have or any benefit in having that information follow them for the rest of their lives or be forever available on the internet. Sometimes people need to be allowed to forgive and forget, especially when it comes to what is said or done in the heat of emotion.
Another point which Katz made abundantly clear was the fact that distracted driving has increased exponentially with the use of cell phones. His point was that it is distracted driving whether someone is talking on a cell phone (with or without a hands-free capability), texting or using any other form of communication, including bluetooth, while driving.
GPS is essentially the same, even if it refuses to work in a moving vehicle, because all that is necessary is to identify yourself as a passenger. The problem is not the devices or accessibility. The problem is people and their attitudes toward their “rights” of access. What about the rights of the victims of the accidents caused by the distracted driving?
Katz spoke about the department’s growth. He has 12 open positions to fill, and in addition to those he intends to hire another 15.
He concluded his talk by telling the Lions that he considers them “heroes.”