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OP-ED: Muldrow should live in York City if he wants to lead police

Dita (Shank) Ziegler
York City
York City School Police Chief Michael Muldrow has been tapped by Mayor Michael Helfrich to be the new York City Police Commissioner.
Tuesday, October 6, 2020.
John A. Pavoncello photo

Here are my comments regarding the nomination of Michael Muldrow by Mayor Helfrich to be York City's new police commissioner. As a taxpayer I noted his 12 years of dedication to York City School District youth and his other experiences, but we don't need a cheerleader. We need someone who understands all the issues within a police department. You know, things like clerks, officers and detectives, technology and training, budgets, and staff assignments to cover the whole city.

In my opinion the most effective police chiefs were those who rose in the ranks and were still within the system, such as Wes Kahley and Troy Bankert. Those who came from outside the system just didn't seem to be able to deal with the myriad of issues facing the city.

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He said at an early age he “was introduced to the culture of the York City Police Department through his father.” Hopefully the “culture” he is going to emulate will not be a 30-year-old model, but a Black Lives Matter one.

He said he was “excited ... to work in an environment that I love.” Having served on the York City school board, I learned it is what is not said that matters, so please note that he did not say in an environment where I live. That is the crux of the matter – living in the city.

He never mentioned if he grew up in the city but did state that he now resides in West Manchester Township. I believe that is not within the city boundaries.

The same issue reflects his “hope to work with officers to get their spirit back – to light their fire again – and help them love coming into the city.” I repeat, not moving into the city.

Fire? Really? We're not trying to win a football game here. What about concern, empathy? What about dedication? This is more than just working enough years to qualify for a position outside the city or retire with taxpayer pensions and get another job.

His comment that “... we now have this opportunity to work together ... to make a better and safer York City.” Together with whom? Policing is best when personnel live among those being “policed.”

Effectiveness of community policing has been proven to be commensurate with residing in the neighborhoods being policed. Ownership is important. When a drive-by is shooting at your house or a gang is selling drugs at a nearby corner, you react differently than when the neighborhood is just where you show up to handle an issue, a job rather than a residence.

He wants to “create an environment where individuals are passionate about taking ownership of their own neighborhoods.” Perhaps the first step, if he really wants to “create” anything, is being willing to move into the city and become part of the “environment” he deems so important. I certainly hope so.

If you love the city environment, then live with us 24/7 and work with your staff to do the same.

— Editor’s note: Muldrow has said he and his wife would move to an apartment in York City if he becomes police commissioner.