Saturday, May 24, 2008

I Declare Shenanigans!

For the umpteenth time.

Kevin Bethel, a widely respected police veteran who recently rose through the ranks to deputy commissioner, has been named the winner of the 23rd George Fencl Award.

Ya know, you can count on one hand the number of street cops who won this award. There was no one more deserving than a frakkin' deputy commissioner? Unbelievable.

Bethel was lauded by Daily News readers for his work in the 17th District in South Philadelphia, where he spent the past three years as a captain and created neighborhood programs aimed at curbing crime and helping juvenile offenders straighten out their lives.

"I'm very humbled to receive this award," said Bethel, 44, who was promoted earlier this month by Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey to a one-star deputy commissioner in charge of regional operations.

You should be humbled. You should also be ashamed. How many police officers are out there fighting the good fight while you sit in an air-conditioned office at Police Headquarters?

The award - named for the legendary late Civil Affairs Inspector George Fencl - is bestowed annually on a police officer who brings a unique blend of courage, integrity and determination to the job.

Maybe it's me, but I read "police officer," not "high-ranking do-nothing boss."

Slain 35th District Officer Chuck Cassidy was named the second-runner up. Cassidy was fatally shot last Halloween when he interrupted a robbery at a West Oak Lane Dunkin' Donuts.

Second runner up. Not even first runner up. I guess giving your life for this city gets you nothing in the eyes of the media. (This is a media-based award.) The unbelievable part of this is that Chuck exemplified community policing - which is at the heart of this award. After he was shot, our division received dozens of calls from businessmen, community representatives, and average citizens. They asked which officer was shot, and when we said it was Chuck, almost every one of them started crying. You don't get that reaction without interacting with the community.

"Our family is very honored that Chuck was considered and is being recognized as part of the award process," said Cassidy's brother-in-law Tony Conti.

"The award has to do with how officers connect to the community in a positive way, and that really does fit Chuck." (The Philadelphia Daily News)

Truer words were never spoken.

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