Posting on the wall at the Suffolk County police Third...

Posting on the wall at the Suffolk County police Third Precinct waiting area on Sept. 21, 2011. Newsday Photo/Victor Ramos Credit: Photo by

Joye Brown's column "Under one flag, many languages" [News, Sept. 27], refers to an "anti-immigrant" posting. The posting was a political message that has no place in a police precinct, and when I learned of its existence, I immediately took it down. The column's statement that I tore down the quote only "when the group complained," falsely implies that it had been there with my permission or knowledge.

We encourage the community to feel comfortable in the precinct. Community meetings are held on site, and we believe the police department is an extension of the community itself. Notices of lost animals, community events, etc., are occasionally posted by members of the public. I periodically examine all postings and take down anything inappropriate, so the assertion that the poster in question had been hanging in the precinct lobby since December is untrue.

Despite the impression set forth by this column, Spanish- and English-speaking community members alike continue to be overwhelmingly supportive of Third Precinct officers.

Insp. Jan L. Rios, Bay Shore

Editor's note: The writer is the commanding officer of the Suffolk County Police Department's Third Precinct.

While some of what Joye Brown wrote is accurate, it is also largely removed from context. And the larger argument she is trying to make, that Theodore Roosevelt somehow wouldn't approve of cultural traditions or even "the nation's newest immigrants," is misleading and just wrong.

While I won't go into the validity of the police posting itself -- as it is not relevant to the historical reality -- Roosevelt was a proponent of immigration. He felt that immigration was critical to the nature and spirit of Americanism.

And, he felt that immigrants should be proud of their cultural heritage. He himself belonged to an Irish-American society and affiliated quite often with immigrant political organizations (Hungarian-Americans, come immediately to mind, in Chicago). He was an honorary member of many such organizations.

He was especially proud of his Dutch heritage and ancestry. He spoke and read several languages. His four-volume history, "The Winning of the West," particularly espoused the importance of immigrants to our national character and fiber.

Roosevelt's point of view in regard to hyphenated Americans and "one flag" had its basis in allegiance, particularly in a time of conflict between nations. It had nothing to do with cultural pride and even less to do with a welcoming spirit to people from all nations that wish to become citizens.

Greg Wynn, Bronx

Editor's note: The writer is a Theodore Roosevelt scholar who teaches at Fordham University and SUNY Maritime College.


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