Why won't conservatives support their local police chiefs?


It's ironic, isn't it? The modern conservative movement was found in the reaction of the 1960s, which supposedly was all about law-and-order (remember 1968 and the streets of Chicago?). Now it's 40 years since the arrival of "Nixonland," and right-wingers have moved so far off the reservation -- with a little help from their friends on your AM dial -- that it's the cops that are the fuzzy-headed liberals, at least compared to them. It's 2009, and we have some of the best and the brightest law enforcement minds in the country trying to use common sense to bring down crime. Common sense, as in the complete opposite of the modern conservative agenda.

Take illegal immigration, the cause celebre of modern right-wing talk radio. This is from a story in today's New York Times that should have received more attention than it did:

MIAMI — Seeking to inject their views into the revived debate over immigration overhaul, several big-city police chiefs urged Congress on Wednesday to draft a new policy that improves public safety by bringing illegal immigrants out of the shadows.

The chiefs — updating recommendations made in 2006 by the leaders of more than 50 urban police departments — called for an overhaul that would integrate immigrants into the legal system, possibly with driver’s licenses, and separate the local police from immigration enforcement.

“We’re in the business of delivering a police service whether the person has had a car accident, been a victim of a crime, or been a witness to a crime,” said Chief John Timoney of the Miami Police Department.

He added that immigrants needed to come forward without fearing “that they are going to wind up being reported to federal authorities and deported.”

Yes, that John Timoney, the one who was universally hailed -- especially by the WPHT crowd, though -- for bringing down crime rates during his tenure in Philadelphia in the late 1990s through the 2000 GOP convention. Of course, people will always disagree on a thing or two, but when it comes to the issue of guns -- the cause that conservative politicians and pundits have been using to whip the rank-and-file into a frenzy since the dawn of the Obama presidency -- conservatives and police chiefs have also parted ways.

Here's what those bleeding hearted police chiefs think:

Miami-Dade Officer Jose Somohano was shot and killed with a Mak-90 assault rifle three years to the day after the federal law prohibiting the sale of such weapons expired.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police issued a report at noon Wednesday calling for, among other things, a renewal of the ban, arguing that it helps keep police officers safe by reducing the ``firepower available to criminals.''

The report hits home for South Florida law enforcement officers, who have been facing an increasing number of these guns on the street since the ban expired. Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez, a former police officer and police director, can't hide his anger when he talks about the fact that lawmakers let the ban expire.

''While I feel very strongly about the Second Amendment, I don't think that our founding fathers had AK-47s in mind,'' he said. ``There's absolutely no reason I can see having these weapons out on the street.''

Note that I posted this Miami Herald story as it appeared on conservative Web site Free Republic, so you can read all the supportive comments.But then, who are you going to believe on important issues like immigration or assault weapons, experienced law-enforcement officers, or your friendly local Freeper?