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Letters to the Editor, March 12

Not anti-police

Supporters of HB 2001, 2002, and 2003, such as Ricardo Lujan and Erica Franks, who wrote a guest opinion addressing the issues of police and racial profiling, are not anti-police. They, like me, are pro-transparency and pro-accountability.

Essentially, this signifies that law enforcement needs to become more open about their practices, and hold themselves accountable for any instance of injustice. These very goals can be found and addressed in the aforementioned bills recently introduced into the Oregon Legislature.

What these bills will do is clearly define what racial profiling is and implement an anonymous statewide complaints system and a means of systemically tracking and addressing these complaints. How else can law enforcement build trust within marginalized communities?

By showing that police are willing to add such a level of transparency these groups, police and marginalized communities, may be able to come together to regrow their relationship. And how have these relationships become strained? Well, profiling has been found to be quite prevalent right here in Jackson County. With only two percent of the county’s population being African American, people of color are still more than two times likely to be arrested than their white counterpart for the very same infraction.

Andrea Anderson, Medford

No reason for inaction

It’s encouraging that more and more Americans are appreciating that the weird weather we are experiencing is a consequence of human-induced global warming and our emissions of greenhouse gases. And, there’s no good reason for inaction.

We know that the taxes each of us pays to the federal government are relatively inconsequential when measured against the total national budget. But this does not absolve us from the moral and legal responsibility to pay our share. Some are not paying their share, but that doesn’t change our own responsibilities.

It’s the same with greenhouse gas emissions. Each of us should do whatever we can to reduce their impact on the future. This means individually and collectively. Just because Oregon’s contribution to the global problem is small, doesn’t mean Oregon should do nothing to reduce emissions.

While every effort to minimize greenhouse gas emissions is valuable, probably the most effective would be to place a fee on all greenhouse gas polluting fossil fuels through a statewide carbon fee or cap-and-trade mechanism. Either of these approaches could make a real dent in our emissions and show the nation that we do, indeed, care about future generations.

Ken Deveney, Ashland

Pass profiling bills

I was encouraged to read proactive ideas addressing profiling in the March 1 guest opinion. The authors acknowledge that ending profiling is not solely an issue for law enforcement, but a shared responsibility between police and the larger community. Together, we can work to ensure our officers are getting the training they need to avoid profiling. But who do we turn to when an incident does occur?

Challenging injustices in our criminal justice system requires us to acknowledge that profiling isn’t always a result of intentional discrimination. Prejudice is so entrenched in our institutions that we are often blind to our own participation in oppression. We need a mechanism to ensure accountability from law enforcement, especially when they fail to recognize there is a problem at all.

In addition to building trust and educating at a local level, we need to implement state systems to address profiling when it happens. HB 2001, 2002, and 2003 would create a reporting system and allow the state to investigate if profiling incidents were not being addressed adequately at a local level. If our goal is to ensure fairness and justice in policing, then law enforcement and community members must come together to pass this legislation.

Sarah Westover, Phoenix

Letters to the Editor, March 12