Friday, February 27, 2015

Allow me to introduce myself!

My name is Marc Ridgill.  I was born and raised  in the Guilford County/Greensboro area and have lived here for 55 years.  I graduated from Northeast High School in the era when all county schools were great places to go to school, which basically means before school merger was shoved down our throats.  I have worked in tobacco fields, a textile mill, a machine shop, retail sales and stocking and even tried my hand at vinyl siding sales.  Ultimately I became a police officer for the City of Greensboro and recently retired after 29 years of service.  I served 15 years as a patrolman, 6 as a detective and 8 as Grimsley High School's Resource Officer. My career has allowed me to meet and talk with city leaders such as council members, attorneys and other dignitaries.  I am currently writing a book that chronicles some of the comedic episodes I experienced in my career as an officer and have now improved my golf game to mediocre.

So why write a blog?  Why would a retired police officer feel compelled to attempt such an endeavor?  The idea started while discussing the lack of supporters in the media for public servants.  We always hear about the negative actions whether true or not dealing with police officers, firemen, paramedics and other emergency personnel.  While some would attempt to argue that bureaucratic PR departments put out plenty of positive stories there never seems to be anyone standing firmly behind these workers who are under negative scrutiny whether justified or not.  The public seems to never hear from leadership regarding actions taken and the media is ill equipped to explain emergency procedures in a proper or less than sensationalized way.  In short, there is a side to almost every story that the public never gets.  

There is also a need for someone to publicly support teachers and present their side to the public.  Teachers and in school personnel have virtually no voice in the public spectra allowing downtown school administrators and local and state government to present whatever side that want the public to know.  Quite frankly, it is unfair to simply take state government and school administration's presentation of the truth without doing at least some investigation onto the thoughts of the working educators. 

Sports!!!!!  Enough said!

I welcome any and all suggestions on what subjects to discuss.  Make no mistake about one thing.  This will not be a blog that takes law enforcement's or teacher's sides regardless of the evidence.  While "some" of the content may be confrontational it is not meant to be personal unless the situation dictates it.  The point is to bring a topic to the public's consciousness that may not be reported by the mainstream media and to be able to bring more detail to the issues.  After 29 years working in a bureaucracy it's kind of nice to "give my opinion" without worrying about the repercussions my currently employed colleagues have to endure.  

See you next week.

Marc  

6 comments:

  1. Welcome to the world of Published Public Opinion (PPO). I hope it is all you hope for. You will find a very diverse set of opinions out here. But the water is deep and the pool is wide so come on in. I hope you enjoy a spirited debate.

    I would like to talk about the main premise of your first post. You feel there is not enough positive ink (or electrons in the case) about public servants, especially police officers. Well I don't either. But I would like to hear your thoughts on situations that warrant criticism. The blue wall, turning a back against a mayor in public, and I would love to hear your honest opinion about how a guy in New York winds up dead for what is essentially a speeding ticket violation. Police do a tremendous amount of good in this society (US). But there is no denying there are some bad apples. To ignore it, to cover it up, to shout that there is not enough good press, that to me, is just burying your head in the sand. We, the general public, want our laws enforced. We know it is essential. We out number you greatly, yet we support you, authorize you, train you, give you a badge and and gun. Citizens want law enforcement Marc. We know your job is essential. We also give you the benefit of the doubt. You deserve it. But here is where my opinion will get your attention.

    With significant authority comes significant responsibility. You have a responsibility to those same citizens who hand you all those tools and the benefit of the doubt. While I am confident that 99% of the officers in this country do a fine job, I am just as confident that the 1% don't. Where is the in-house effort by all law enforcement to rid yourselves of that 1%. It would seem to me you would want them gone. They give you all a bad name and a black eye. When their actions rise to the level of disservice or even criminal behavior, they reflect poorly on an entire force. They under-mind your efforts. Yet, there appears to be a concentrated effort by the rank and file to protect them from scrutiny and/or prosecution when you have to know they have abused that precious authority, and sometimes even committed crimes.

    If we heard more from those who serve about those in your own house who do you a disservice, I think you would be surprised at how much support could be received by the pubic. Just one opinion.

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    1. 1%. Cool. I would have said closer to 5% of any given profession. My first "concern" with your question is where you are getting your information on "the rank and file covering up"? If it's the media that's a bad source. I stopped subscribing to the local paper years ago because of blatant inaccuracies and a refusal to follow up on the story if it turned out to be in favor of officers. Ferguson is a good example. Before the investigation was finished we had the Federal government chiming in talking about civil rights violations and prosecuting the officer. Once the investigation was completed and a Gran Jury comprised of "civilian citizens" ruled on the evidence, everyone wanted to vilify them. Now that the entire evidence is known the story has disappeared and the Attorney General of the United States never brings it up. Why? The media and politicians seeking to make a gain from this tragic incident refused to allow a LOCAL invest ligation to run its' course. As often happens, the officer was dragged through the mud but no apology or even in depth report was forthcoming when he was exonerated. Without the follow up, you can't "un-ring the bell" and folks will continue to believe the original reports.
      I cannot speak of direct information regarding other departments. In Greensboro officers used to get fired for refusing to obey departmental policies on things we don't even get worked up over now such as cohabitation. In my opinion we are firing more now but that's because there seems to be more "violations" of department policies. Everyone in Greensboro that has been convicted of a crime has been fired to my knowledge. Some have been fired then had to be re-instated when they won their court cases. That's another thing that never makes it to the media.
      Politics have no place in law enforcement and the Federal Government has no business sticking their nose in local and state criminal investigations. I'm not familiar with the speeding case in New York you reference but send me the details and I'll look at it. One BIG item that the public needs to remember and the media seems to forget; we as law enforcement are also citizens and are not only governed by the Constitution of the United States but are also PROTECTED by the Constitution. We have the same rights as civilians. Internal investigations for any business including "public" jobs have personnel laws that protect them from public scrutiny. Again, LAWS that are made by governments!! In my opinion it is a bit hard to criticize any business in general for obeying laws sent down by elected officials.
      DeBlasio? Hard to comment. The City of New York has more of a "working" Mayor than most cities because of its' size alone. I can't imagine that happening here in Greensboro but the Police Commissioner there holds a different type of position and the officers are all unionized. Did he deserve it. Yep. Should it have been done? Hard for me to question officers that work in an environment I'm not familiar with.
      As always Mark, great to hear from you.

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  2. You came by and left a flyer on my house as we live close and asked for my vote. As a Marine my self I understand the life of a police officer and believe that you are truthful when talking about more support for police and teachers one of the biggest things that has changed is that as people that live on a street we don't support each other's and watch each other's kids and care about the well being of anyone outside of are family !!! If you hold truth to your values I believe there will be real change and in this city that would've welcome I wish you luck and will vote for you. J10

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  3. You came by and left a flyer on my house as we live close and asked for my vote. As a Marine my self I understand the life of a police officer and believe that you are truthful when talking about more support for police and teachers one of the biggest things that has changed is that as people that live on a street we don't support each other's and watch each other's kids and care about the well being of anyone outside of are family !!! If you hold truth to your values I believe there will be real change and in this city that would've welcome I wish you luck and will vote for you. J10

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    1. Thank you Mr Calhoun and thank you for your service. I will work very hard to protect your faith in me. Thank you for your vote.

      Marc

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  4. I would love to read about data room due diligence . Is this topic also interesting for you?
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