Bail reform, police liability insurance, teaching history and more
Find another way to make bail fairer
The story on bail reform seriously misses the point of the dangers resulting from the new bail reform, or should I call it the "get out of jail free" reform ["Politicized perception, complicated reality," News, March 6].
Perhaps the number of individuals suspected of committing crimes while out on "free" bail is lower than indicated by some police organizations and politicians, but the reality is that there are real victims of these people who did not have to be victimized if the suspects were behind bars.
It is understandable that bail should not be based solely on an ability-to-pay formula. However, it makes no sense to force judges to release individuals based on specific legislative guidelines. A judge’s hands are tied, and he releases dangerous suspects back into society.
Police officers risk their lives to apprehend and take criminals off the street only to have them released and put back on the street seemingly before the police even finish their paperwork.
So, yes, perhaps the number of people suspected of committing crimes while out on "free" bail is not as high as perceived, but one is too many. To the legislators who wish to make bail fairer, I say, "Find another way."
— Jim Kiernan, Holbrook
The writer retired as a lieutenant in the Hempstead Police Department.
Cops should carry liability insurance
Officers in Nassau and Suffolk counties’ police departments, who were hired to protect us, shielded a colleague regarding the arrest of an innocent man ["Shot cabbie wins $2M settlement," News, March 8]. The punishment was that only this officer was fired, and Nassau (taxpayers) must fork over $2 million to the victim, with more to come from Suffolk.
To spare innocent taxpayers — and as a deterrent for unprofessional behavior — why is it not mandatory that all public servants carry personal liability insurance?
— Carol Ludwig, Wantagh
History helps kids form opinions
Long Island Strong Schools Alliance supports the state Board of Regents’ call to action to advance diversity, equity and inclusion ["Beware leaders who know little," Letters, March 9]. We support parental involvement in our schools, and that is why we have stepped forward to stand with the teachers who have dedicated their careers to creating stronger schools and communities.
Research has shown that children as young as 3 years old recognize different races. Ignoring this reality and taking the outdated "color-blind" approach creates a harmful environment for all, especially for students of color, as it takes away from their identity and experiences.
Teaching the true history of this country, including uncomfortable truths, enables children to form their own opinions regarding historical figures and events. We should not assume that our children will walk away from these lessons feeling guilty.
Rather, we are confident that when taught by teachers who are knowledgeable and empathetic, children will relate to what it means to learn from mistakes and will want to do their part to contribute to our great nation.
— Amanda Cohen-Stein, Miller Place
The writer is president of LISSA.
Without mandates, masks still needed
Although COVID-19 has been a continuing public health crisis for two years, thousands of people across America still take issue with wearing masks in public ["Masks off, but school wars rage on," Opinion, March 3].
Now, for the first time since schools have reopened during the pandemic, children are going to school maskless. Gov. Kathy Hochul made the decision to lift mask mandates because of low COVID cases and a yearning for a sense of normalcy. She opted for local officials to rule on mask policies.
While some people are overjoyed by the decision, others feel the decision was made prematurely and could have lasting impacts on the community.
Despite nationwide controversies and false information, I believe mask mandates are necessary and play a significant role in keeping people safe.
Unfortunately, COVID is a virus with multiple variants. Given the unknown nature of this virus, it seems irresponsible to lift the mask mandates now. Science-backed research has shown that masks are an effective way to decrease the spread of airborne illnesses. People still can get infected with COVID and have no symptoms. Don’t toss away your masks yet.
— Yaseen Vesamia, South Setauket