Protect liberty – while you still can | Nov. 1
On Dec. 7, 1941, the US entered WWII and defeated fascism. Millions of people died in the battle, including 300,000 Americans. On Memorial Day, we celebrate this victory of democracy over dictatorship. In our democracy, liberty is an inalienable right; in a dictatorship, it is not. Protect our democracy on Election Day by listening to your conscience and not to the rhetoric of the fascist neophytes, who never lived it. Help avoid the resurgence of an oppressive ideology.
Juan R. Puerto, Immokalee
The eyes have it | Letters. Nov. 1
Instead of using employing expensive technologies, might I suggest we create a system in which voters don’t encounter attempts at voter suppression and gerrymandering in the first place. Using eye-scan technology in order to vote is unnecessary since extensive research reveals that voter fraud is very rare. Besides, scanning eyes is not practical for mail-in votes.
Janice Decisneros, Tampa
More training needed
Florida police need better bias training | Editorial, Oct. 28
On behalf of HOPE, the Hillsborough Organization for Progress and Equality, we thank you for your editorial highlighting racial bias police training. For many years, HOPE has heard many people share their own or their loved ones’ stories about being racially profiled, which erodes trust and instills fear among both community and law enforcement. Our research showed that our law enforcement agencies do not effectively collect and analyze data on all traffic stops, which makes it challenging to measure enforcement practices or to find common ground to discuss concerns.
Since 2021, we’ve pressed our law enforcement agencies to work with an outside expert to objectively track, analyze and communicate data on all traffic stops with the community. At HOPE’s 2022 March Nehemiah Action with 1,600 people, Tampa Police Chief Mary O’Connor agreed to our request to work with such an outside expert to track, analyze and communicate data on traffic stops to the public.
In July, the Tampa Police launched a traffic stop dashboard on their website. We believe it’s a step in the right direction, yet it lacks the micro-level analysis that can help pinpoint specific instances of bias happening so action steps can be taken to address the problem. Further, we firmly believe working with an outside expert is key to credibility and building trust. It would strengthen steps the Tampa police have already taken while bringing transparency to community concerns. Finally, HOPE would like to see the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office take similar steps.
The Rev. Bernice Powell Jackson (HOPE co-president) and Laurie Jones Oluku and Sherre Henley (HOPE Criminal Justice Committee co-chairs), Tampa