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  • Reverend James Squire

Don’t Throw the Baby Out With The Bath Water

Updated: Feb 8, 2021

“Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.” It means keep what is good and get rid of what is bad. I read Larry Platt’s article, “Defund the FOP”, in the Philadelphia Citizen, and I said that’s the answer. (Full disclosure I think the police are courageous and caring). Get rid of the police unions and keep the police. Are unions good or bad? They are both. I have experience with unions which I recounted in my memoir, The Times Of My Life reflecting this.

When I was in 10th grade, my father had a crippling stroke. It took a year before he returned to work. He was a member of the Meat Cutters Union. If he wasn’t a member of that union, I don’t know how we would have survived. %60 of his salary that he earned for disability, however, isn’t a lot! When I worked during the summer at a steel mill to pay for college, everyone had to join the union. I have the badge to prove it. I made lots of money. Yes, the work was brutal. The mill closed as the workers’ union made excessive demands on management. Later in life when I was talking to the owner on the mill, he indicated that when the workers arrived for work and the gates were closed and locked, they asked why. The mill closed because of the union demands. When I was substitute teaching in the Philadelphia School System, one of the schools that I was in was also the school of the leader of the union. It was as though I were an undercover reporter. I never saw him doing any planning for class, but I did hear a lot of conversation in the faculty lounge. The talk was not about making students’ lives better. It was about teachers making more money. (Full disclosure. I don’t believe that there Is a salary that is too high for a teacher.)

Platt writes about several models of where the police and communities are working to make things better where they honor one another. It is called “Ethical Policing Is Courageous”. The one that we have heard the most about is in Camden, New Jersey. They disbanded the union first. There is a similar program in New Orleans and Eugene, Oregon.

Derek Chauvin had 17 complaints against him for excessive force and suspect behavior before he killed George Lloyd. Garrett Rolf had 12 complaints against him for excessive force and suspect behavior before killing Rayshard Brooks. Want to guess why they could be excessive for so many times that is a pattern?

“In the meantime, you can pass as many bans on chokeholds as you like, but as long as police unions control how bad acts are or are not dealt with, you won’t be transforming many para military organizations. Because, as it stands now…police unions still have political clout. If you protest anything start with that. No wonder we have the Guardian Civic League, a Union of Black Officers. If you were black, would you want to pay dues to the police FOP (Fraternal Order Of Police)?” - Larry Platt, “Defund the FOP”, The Philadelphia Citizen.

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