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Historic Films
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NT-3301 @ 00:03:22
The Eleventh Hour - Show #301 Title: Lee Brown Guest: Lee Brown, New York City Police Commissioner Original Broadcast Date: 2-13-90
INTERVIEW Robert Lipsyte: You have said that you are three spiritual mentors so to speak, or Jesus, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Those seem like an interesting trio for a cop. Lee Brown 3:25 Well I've learned a lot, I base my life around the teachings of all three. And I think it makes good sense. I am a Christian. And certainly I believe in the tenets of Christianity as put forth by Jesus. I believe that what Gandhi stood for his country in bringing about the changes, they're dealing with the human rights of people in this country, and indeed, all people that were all would be significant for anyone, regardless of their line of work, their occupation. And certainly Dr. King stood out amongst other great leaders, because he transcended race, transcend religion transcend politics, and he was concerned about people regardless of where they might be. And it seems to me that in the business that I'm in, it's good to have role models that stand for high ideals. Robert Lipsyte 4:12 This is something I don't get. I mean, these are guys who believed in civil disobedience. These were not guys who believe necessarily in law and order on a on a street level, what what is a cop supposed to do? Lee Brown 4:27 They believe in, right? What's morally and ethically right. And in the in the instance of King and Gandhi, they use non violence as a means of achieving that. And certainly I believe that every police officer should also be an advocate of non violence. Every police officer should be an advocate of what's right. My the values that guide me and my decision making process are very simple ones, nothing novel. Is it legal? Is it moral? Is it ethical, and using those as guidelines have served me well, Robert Lipsyte 4:59 in a sense You know, we have the perception that police are supposed to keep the lid on our society keep us safe. Lee Brown 5:09 And that is the role of the police. It contrary to what we happen to see on television, quite often, where you have a crime that's committed, and a saw within 30 minutes with time off commercials, that's not the case with police work. Police officers spend a tremendously large amount of their time maintaining peace, maintaining order settling disputes, and probably the percentage in which they're evoking the the criminal justice process by making an arrest is relatively small compared to what they spend their time doing in other arenas. Robert Lipsyte 5:40 This is the ideal. I mean, you're talking about the ideal. Do you think that's that's what's happening in New York? I mean, the perception right now is, when you went to Houston in 1982, the the public prints, saw you as coming in to tame what was I think one of the phrases was a bunch of psychotic cowboys. And that phrase is not, of course, been used for the New York City police. But there is a sense that there is an alienation right now, between the police and the community. And in terms of doing what's right, doing it in a non violent way. It's not happening here. Lee Brown 6:15 Now, I've been very impressed with the New York City Police Department coming here, I knew it to be the premier police agency in America, I think you'll find that the vast, vast, vast majority of members of the New York Police are doing exactly that, carrying on their chosen profession in a professional manner, providing quality services to the citizens of the city. And that's the tradition that has been established before I got here. That's the tradition that I want to perpetuate, Robert Lipsyte 6:43 Why doesn't it feel that way out there? And why do a lot of people in the community feel that at its most radical, that they're an occupying force? I mean, how did this
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