To the editor:
My opponent in the race for Virginia House of Delegates’ 45th District, Elizabeth Bennett-Parker, is known for her anti-police position. After her aide was arrested last year for assaulting a police officer, it was on full display: She publicly praised her aide instead of condemning violence against police.
Earlier this month, she confirmed her anti-police approach when she voted on City Council to defund School Resource Officers, otherwise known as police, in Alexandria City Public Schools. Her vote defies common sense. A recent Freedom of Information Act request showed that in 930 school days there were 105 assaults, 127 incidents of grand larceny and a reported rape at one school.
As a former Central Intelligence Agency counter-terrorism branch chief, I have no illusions about violence. My opponent’s fantasy – that providing a permissive environment for crime will somehow prevent it – is a recipe for disaster.
Recent data shows that Alexandria has experienced a 19% increase in crime. And we’re now seeing the spread of potential MS-13 gang tags. A senior police officer recently complained to me that his hands are tied by restrictions created by people like my challenger.
Removing SROs is an ideological initiative with growing implications for Virginia, as populist politicians buy into the fantasy as a way to gain votes. My opponent’s fellow council members described their decision as a victory for equity, but the only equity resulting from defunding police will be the broader distribution of crime. Minorities will bear the brunt of it.
If elected to the House of Delegates, my opponent will take her antipolice initiatives with her. The outgoing delegate, Mark Levine, recently acknowledged there’s no difference between my opponent and himself, and this should frighten Democrats and Republicans alike. Legislation like his failed “Good Apple” bill would only sow discord in the police ranks.
More toxic legislation is exactly what we don’t need. Instead, we must prosecute crime according to the law, and we must ensure that our police officers have better training, better pay and the resources and political support to do their jobs in service to the whole community.
-J.D. Maddox, Alexandria