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From Issue: Volume XXI - Number 25

By Jay Beeler

On Thursday afternoon, December 5, my wife and I attended the graduation ceremonies for cadets in the Long Beach Police Department’s 86th such class at the Long Beach Convention Center. There were 40 new officers for the City of Long Beach and two for the City of Modesto.

I was impressed. It featured a cross-section of local young men and women who have pledged to serve and protect you and me.

In addressing the new officers, Chief Jim McDonnell noted that they will enter into situations on a daily basis without the benefit of research, intelligence, computers and other tools used by professionals like doctors, lawyers, scientists and the like. They need to “think on their feet” and make judgment calls in a split second. They must do all this in a professional manner and do nothing that would tarnish the badge and the entire police department.

The entire ceremony was very impressive and made all in attendance proud to live in a city like Long Beach and to know that the academy just produced the top one percent among the 5,000 who applied for the job.

The very next day a press conference was called to announce the arrest of a female LBPD detective who tarnished her badge by revealing classified information to a criminal street gang and obstructing justice. The detective was officially terminated from the LBPD on March 7, 2013.

In a press release, Police Chief Jim McDonnell stated: “Police department employees are held accountable to the highest standards, and the department takes immediate action to address employee misconduct. It is extremely disappointing when the behavior of one individual undermines the public trust that this department works so hard to uphold. We will not tolerate actions that dishonor the badge that we wear so proudly. The men and women of our department work diligently every day to do the right thing and to provide excellent service to our community. The acts of the one shouldn’t outweigh the acts of the many.”

My wife says that I’m the president of the Jim McDonnell Fan Club. She’s right, of course. In the few short years he has been chief, Jim McDonnell has done an excellent job of ridding the department of bad cops.

The City of Long Beach is fortunate to have a chief of McDonnell’s caliber. I hope that he continues to serve for many years to come.

His predecessor, Tony Batts, was incapable of “doing the right thing” by allowing a few rotten apples to prey on local citizens. He engaged in domestic violence, perjury, altering public documents and other felonies as LBPD’s chief. I personally experienced Batts’ incompetence by crossing paths with one of those rotten apple cops, who continues to spends his days behind bars for felonious acts.

Another corrupt city official during this time period was former prosecutor Tom Reeves, who engaged in malicious prosecution, prosecutorial misconduct, misappropriation of public funds and other misdeeds in office. We loudly applauded his exit from public office.

Several other local police agencies and even the LA County Sheriff are under scrutiny for the misdeeds of sworn officers and I point at several California laws that put sworn police “above the law” by keeping their past misdeeds confidential and other special exemptions. That needs to change so that we are all on a level playing field.

In the humor department, a reader provided the following item:

A Jewish man was leaving a convenience store with his espresso when he noticed a most unusual Italian funeral procession approaching the nearby cemetery. A black hearse was followed by a second black hearse about 50 feet behind the first one. Behind the second hearse was a solitary Italian man walking a dog on a leash. Behind him were about 200 men walking single file.

The man couldn’t stand the curiosity. He respectfully approached the Italian man walking the dog and said: “I am so sorry for your loss, and this may be a bad time to disturb you, but I’ve never seen an Italian funeral like this. Whose funeral is it?”

“My wife’s.”

‘’What happened to her?”

“She yelled at me and my dog attacked and killed her.”

He inquired further, “But who is in the second hearse?”

The Italian man answered, “My mother-in-law. She was trying to help my wife when the dog turned on her.”

A very poignant and touching moment of Jewish and Italian brotherhood and silence passed between the two men.

The Jewish man then asked, “Can I borrow the dog?”

The Italian man replied, “Get in line.”

Don’t forget that you still have time to send your carrier a greeting card along with a token of your appreciation if they are doing a good job of delivery. Send to: Beachcomber Carrier, Post Office Box 15679, Long Beach, CA 90815-0679. Allow room on the check for us to write in the carrier’s name and we’ll forward it to the appropriate carrier, based on your return address.

Merry Christmas to all … from the entire Beachcomber staff.