A KPCC reporter who spent time with officers and in the neighborhoods of Central Anaheim last month found that police have made some inroads with residents. But some relationships are still strained and concerns over profiling of Latino youth remain. Before , the department had as many as 20 officers on its community policing team, according to Lt. Tim Schmidt, one of the supervisors in charge. But when the recession hit, hiring stalled and most community policing officers were put back on regular patrol.
The department kept one community policing officer and one sergeant assigned to each of the four police districts. Schmidt said the community policing team is now back up to 14 community police officers. Theresa Smith began working with the police department on reforms after Anaheim officers shot and killed her son in She collaborates with youth groups in Anaheim and concedes that police are making an effort to forge relationships in the community.
But she says officers are still too quick to judge young people. That's the same neighborhood where police killed a man in Vasquez said the area is a hotspot for drug deals. Gang members loiter in parking lots or sit in cars. When he walks the beat, whistles ring out from the modest apartment buildings, signaling the cops are in the neighborhood. He convinced the owner of a coin laundry to install a metal back door with a lock to keep drug dealers, buyers and homeless people from using the business as a go-between.
On a recent visit, Vasquez and a partner found two men sitting on upturned buckets in the parking lot of a market. A beer wrapped in a paper sack sits nearby. Later, a group of community police officers, wearing dark sunglasses, walk the neighborhood near East Lincoln Avenue and North State College Boulevard. Asked about these interactions, Lt. Schmidt said community police officers have to make stops and contacts like this to learn the neighborhood and reduce gang crime. Some neighborhoods have gang members who don't live nearby but come in to deal drugs or recruits kids to join their gang, he said.
There's no precise way to measure whether community policing has been successful, said Susan Lee of the Advancement Project. Her organization was instrumental in helping the Los Angeles Police Department introduce community policing in Watts ten years ago. The community-policing program in Watts has been touted as a national model. It's helped reduce violent and gang crime and accelerated investigations because residents are more willing to talk to police.
Lee said that when community policing is done right, residents should feel like interactions with police officers are reasonable. Lee added not every police department should practice community policing the same way. But they all should have one thing in common:. Most community residents told KPCC that relations between police and the neighborhoods seem to be going in the right direction. But now, it seems it calmed down. There's a reason why new agents are required to visit the U.
It's the same reason he keeps on his desk a copy of Attorney General Robert Kennedy's one-page approval of a request to wiretap King: "To ensure that we remember our mistakes and that we learn from them. In a speech on law enforcement and race Thursday at Georgetown University, Comey shared his thoughts on improving policing in minority communities. The director acknowledged there's a disconnect between federal and local law enforcement, and communities of color and said that debating the nature of policing is important. Comey disagrees with the notion of racial colorblindness, and said everyone carries racial biases that affect behavior.
But he stressed recognizing these hard truths are important to creating effective relationships with vulnerable communities. Law enforcement is not the root cause of the problems in our hardest hit neighborhoods. In a statement, the Center for Policing Equity applauded the director for his remarks: "We are proud to be a part of many of the initiatives Director Comey mentioned today, working alongside the Department of Justice, the Administration, and municipal police departments across the country to better equip our law enforcement officials.
Nicholas Manley, a graduate student at Georgetown, was impressed by the director's speech. He agrees that facilitating better relationships between police and communities of color require more than just better training. Twitter users shared their reactions using the hashtag ComeyAtGU. Responses were mixed, with some saying the director's speech doesn't go far enough in addressing an often hostile presence by police in communities of color.
H oward County police Chief Gary Gardner announced a series of initiatives aimed at enhancing the department's community policing Wednesday headlined by the creation of a new pathway patrol program and a new division with the department. What are we doing right? What could we do better? And, more importantly, what does our community think? Among the initiatives is the expansion of the department's Community Outreach section to a division, which Gardner said will include increased resources and personnel toward its mission focused in community policing.
Part of the new division will be a pathway patrol program, which Gardener said will be staffed by seven patrol officers likely working in two shifts, seven days a week. He added the department will rely on foot and bike patrols to start, but that the department could explore which could include segways, motorized scooters, etc. The division will also include community liaisons, including a multi-cultural liaison officer, a senior citizen liaison officer, a youth services liaison officer and multiple community resource officers.
Gardner said he initially plans to use existing police officers and resources to staff the division. County Councilman Calvin Ball, who also spoke Wednesday, said the council is considering a bill that would enhance community policing. The legislation asks that the department's Citizen Advisory Council, a group of citizens that meets weekly, to study emerging police technology and methods and present recommendations to the department. We don't have many of the challenges neighboring counties and states have, but we can always improve," Ball said.
Among the things they will study are officer body cameras, technology that has come into the national spotlight following the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. Every community? I don't know, and I don't know what's in store here for Howard County. Ball mentioned specifically a review of the county's community resource officers, which are stationed in small satellite officers across the county. Linda Lee Hickerson, chair of the citizen committee, said the group is eager to "delve more deeply into the issues" of community policing. In his opening remarks, Gardner alluded to recent events across the country, specifically mentioning Ferguson, where police tactics and a lack of community trust "have been brought into question.
Relationship building must be a continuous effort, even in the best of times. The Tompkins County Sheriff's Office is continuing to look at the possibility of getting body cameras for officers. On Jan. Lansing told the committee he supports the use of body cameras, which he believes would enhance officer safety and capture an actual record of situations and events.
The sheriff said he has consulted with the sheriffs from Schuyler and Niagara Counties, where body cameras are already being used, and is reviewing rules and regulations from Niagara County, where the cameras have been in use for about three years. Undersheriff Brian Robison agreed that for this equipment, development of the policy must be the first step. Needed to be addressed in policy are issues such as storage and retention of the data and procedures for how and when the cameras are to be used.
Robison also noted that camera use must comply with surveillance policies under federal and state law. He said he believes the county may be able to coordinate with the City of Ithaca on policy development, since the City is in the process of procuring body cameras for Ithaca Police Department officers. He said that secure cloud-based data storage is one data option. Sheriff Lansing will return to the committee with a draft policy by its April meeting, with the aim of having a program ready to implement by summer.
In light of recent tragedies the Dept. Public Safety is reminding families to practice escape plans with kids. PAUL, Minn Seven people, including two children, have died in house fires this year compared to five at this time last year. With plenty of cold weather yet to come, State Fire Marshal Bruce West reminds families to stay safe and prevent tragedy in their homes. This year's ceremony honored individuals who committed acts of valor between and Vice President Joe Biden draped the purple and yellow striped ribbons around the necks of 20 public safety officers, and presented medals to the families of two officers killed while responding to armed robberies.
The two were off-duty at the time. We love you for it. We need you. You are the best thing we have going for us. Two people were dead on the ground outside the Sikh Temple in August when Lt. The suspected gunman was fleeing. Murphy pulled his gun, but the suspect fired first, hitting Murphy in his throat, legs and hand. When Lenda arrived on the scene and shot the suspect, the shooter crawled out of view and killed himself.
Lenda sent fellow officers to help Murphy, but the lieutenant waved them away and insisted they help those still inside the temple.
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The White House said the two officers' actions helped save the lives of many. Boston and the surrounding area were in a state of panic in April because the suspects in the marathon bombing remained at large. The fateful night when Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev carjacked a vehicle before a dramatic confrontation with police is well known. Less well known were the contributions of seven officers and firefighters from Watertown, Massachusetts, who received the medal from Biden. Despite heavy weapon gunfire and reports the brothers were throwing explosives, officers and firefighters who responded helped protect the lives of those in uniform, the White House said.
Tamerlan died as a result of the incident; Dzhokhar was apprehended 20 hours later. Attorney General Eric Holder said this year's medals were particularly poignant at a moment when the country is grappling with "deep challenges" in the relationship between law enforcement and their communities. The Medal of Valor is the nation's highest honor for public safety officers who risk their own safety to save or protect others.
A total of 95 medals have been handed out since Congress created the award in Daniel Hutchinson, Weber County, Utah, who was shot three times but still rescued two fellow sheriff's deputies in a shooting. Bradley Alan Wick, Duluth, Minnesota, Police Department, who shot and killed a convicted felon after an armed robbery and car chase. Lewis, Chicago, who was off-duty when he was shot four times and killed while confronting two masked gunmen at a grocery store. Michael Darrell Brown, Brevard County, Florida, who helped save a woman whose estranged boyfriend was attempting to stab her to death.
As police SWAT teams evolved in the s, they added skilled negotiators and long distance precision shooters to enhance their life-saving capabilities. The roots of the long-distance sniper extend back to the days of the archers. When they were captured, they often had their middle finger amputated before they were exchanged so that they could not use the bow with such deadly efficiency ever again.
Then they would in unison let fly a deadly volley. This is a legend, not a proven fact, but an interesting legend nonetheless. Early History The birth of the modern sniper occurred in our own Revolutionary War. Our forefathers possessed special equipment, tactics and skills, enhanced by today's snipers. Timothy Murphy was a sniper who changed history. The distance was estimated by some to be yards. Murphy fired and Frazer dropped from his horse. Frazer's second in command immediately came forward and Murphy needed no further directives.
He shot him from his horse also. These impossible shots deeply demoralized the enemy and helped lead to an American victory, which convinced the French to enter the war on the side of the Americans. Hiram Berdan During the Civil War, Hiram Berdan recruited a regiment of sharpshooters that were selected for their extraordinary skills. These soldiers were issued Whitworth, or Sharps rifles equipped with scopes. They dressed in green for camouflage. The World Wars During both World Wars, men and even women with exceptional marksmanship skills were designated as snipers by all armies. They developed the ability to secretly move into tactical positions of advantage.
These soldiers were able to hit targets with great precision from great distances. The most deadly of these snipers was the Russian, Vasily Zaytzev, who helped turn the tide of the war in the Battle of Stalingrad.
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During the war, he was credited with killing of his enemies. Zaytzev's female counter-part, Lyudmila Pavlichenko, had confirmed kills. She was particularly effective at stalking, and is credited with killing 36 Nazi snipers. In Vietnam, Hathcock was known not only for his 93 confirmed kills, but his ability to apply sniper-craft to achieve success in the framework of missions. Hathcock was often sent in after high-value targets and succeeded in eliminating them time and time again, while avoiding detection by the enemy.
The attempt by the North Vietnamese to eliminate Carlos led to his making the most famous sniper shot in modern history. Carlos went out after the Cobra and the deadly dance commenced. As the maneuvering progressed, Carlos finally spotted the glint of glass in the sunshine. He aimed and fired, killing the Cobra instantly. Upon inspection it was discovered that the Hatcock's round had traveled through the enemy sniper's scope, without touching the sides and into the eye of the Cobra. SWAT was designed to be a hand-picked group of volunteers who were highly skilled, motivated, and trained to solve the most dangerous police problems.
SWAT teams eventually were formed all over the country. As teams evolved, they added skilled negotiators and long distance precision shooters to enhance their life-saving capabilities. They placed themselves in a key hide to gather intelligence on what was occurring. The information they passed along to officers in charge and team leaders in real-time, assisted in the planning and decision-making at critical incidents.
Snipers were able to notify teams of not only an impending sudden assault, but also an impending sudden surrender. Even though they rarely shot, when they did their shots were nearly always precise. Their precision shooting did not inflict collateral damage. They provided an effective protective over-watch to tactical operations. Their actions often minimized casualties in situations where there was great potential for many casualties.
His deadly rampage was finally stopped by one shot from a sniper. Snipers have proven themselves to be highly disciplined officers, who train themselves vigorously. Even though police snipers are quietly utilized every day in the United States, most never fire their rifles except in training. Dan Marcou retired as a highly decorated police lieutenant and SWAT Commander with 33 years of full time law enforcement experience. He is a nationally recognized police trainer in many police disciplines and is a Master Trainer in the State of Wisconsin.
Visit his website and contact Dan Marcou. Body-worn police cameras are a hot topic lately. Several highly-publicized incidents recently have led to a wave of anti-police protests and rhetoric. In turn, jurisdictions have scrambled to implement use of the technology or to expand their existing programs. Manufacturer orders have soared, with large jurisdictions which had been slow to adopt the cameras, like LAPD and NYPD, finally joining the ever-growing number of police agencies that use them.
The benefits for police are profound. For many, they are seen as a natural progression from other tools that have been commonplace for some time. In-vehicle camera systems have aided law enforcement for decades. A body-worn option is therefore a logical enhancement to an existing method. But what happens after the cameras are in widespread use? Those in public service are wise enough to understand that an enhanced view of police encounters will hardly pacify the harshest and loudest of police opponents.
Criticisms that once centered on why agencies were slow to use body-cams will only move toward any number of reasons that such cameras failed to tell the full story in favor of a particular agenda. While the future of law enforcement is likely to involve more video technology, the future will also include a great deal of debate about its use.
Those who see the cameras as a boon for police accountability, for example, are at the same time wary of their intrusiveness on the public. Thinking forward, it's easy to imagine the questions that will continue to arise. At what point for example, will one camera be sufficient? How long before persistent critics suggest multiple viewing angles, or demand that camera activation be tied electronically to other officer actions, such as un-holstering a firearm, or using a Taser?
Police body cameras will hardly stymie the most vocal opponents. Effective law enforcement will always include disagreements about police encounters with the public, and personal body camera footage will not likely diminish this. Agencies should anticipate a substantial number of new questions and accusations related to body-cams. Police leaders can mitigate this with careful research, policy planning, and collaboration with government and community partners at all levels. Body-worn cameras certainly have enough positive attributes to warrant an agency's careful and individual consideration.
However, given that a segment of the population will never be satisfied with the level of visibility and accountability they provide, jurisdictions must avoid knee-jerk reactions that affect body-worn video implementation and policy. Lawmakers and police agencies need to prudently consider privacy concerns, policies regarding the availability of video recordings, and internal policies concerning their use including related disciplinary matters.
Only then can we be reasonably confident that the adoption of this technology is being done with appropriate research and planning, rather than in an attempt to appease the inappeasable. Paul Grattan Jr. Paul is the proud father of a son and two daughters, with whom he shares his experience via his blog, One Police Project. Born and raised in Long Island, NY, he comes from a family with a long history of public service. Paul now lives with his wife and three children in New York's beautiful Hudson Valley. You can contact him via email at: nygrattan gmail.
For more information on One Police Project, visit onepoliceproject. Killed American hostage was among those U. The small Arizona town where Kayla Jean Mueller grew up began gathering in grief Tuesday upon learning that the year-old aid worker who traveled the world on a quest to help others died while in the hands of Islamic State militants.
A small memorial on the courthouse plaza began to grow rapidly as word spread that Mueller's death had been confirmed. The Islamic State group reported Friday that Muller, whose month captivity had largely been kept secret in an effort to save her, had died in a recent Jordanian airstrike targeting the militants.
On Tuesday, her parents and U. It's a shock it hit Prescott. We're not that big of a town. The former territorial capital of Arizona has only recently begun to recover from a devastating wildfire that claimed the lives of 19 members of an elite firefighting squad. Stickers featuring the fire crew's logo and bearing the number "19" are still fixed to vehicles all around the town of 40, people. The mountain town's picturesque courthouse lawn is still recognizable to some outsiders as the site of the dramatic martial-arts fight scene in the film "Billy Jack.
On Tuesday, it was filled with members of the media waiting to hear from Mueller's family, which lives about 10 minutes away at the end of a winding dirt road. Sheriff's deputies have blocked the road since Friday. She dedicated the whole of her young life to helping those in need of freedom, justice, and peace.
President Barack Obama said Mueller, who assisted humanitarian organizations working with Syrian refugees, "epitomized all that is good in our world. The White House said Obama had spoken with Mueller's parents and offered his condolences and prayers. Mueller is the fourth American to die while being held by Islamic State militants.
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It's not clear what entity is holding him, but it is not believed to be the Islamic State group or the Syrian government, his family has said. Mueller was taken hostage in August while leaving a hospital in Syria. Her identity was long kept secret out of fears for her safety.
An attempt to rescue Mueller and other American hostages occurred in a July 4 raid previously disclosed by the Pentagon. But the mission was unsuccessful because hostages, which included Mueller as well as Foley and Sotloff, already had been moved from the site. Obama confirmed Tuesday that Mueller was one of the hostages Delta Force commandos attempted to rescue in a raid on an oil refinery facility in northern Syria in summer The two dozen commandos arrived after the hostages had been moved, Obama said.
Obama said the U. Jordan, which has launched a barrage of strikes in recent days in retaliation for the gruesome killing of one of its pilots at the hands of the militants, disputed the group's report of Mueller's death. In the U. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that Jordan's airstrikes had targeted an IS weapons compound near the group's stronghold of Raqqa in northern Syria that had been targeted before, and that there was no evidence of civilians in the area ahead of the strike.
Mueller's parents released a letter Tuesday that their daughter had written them while in captivity. In the undated letter, Mueller said she was, "in a safe location, completely unharmed. Secretary of State John Kerry said the U. Excerpts of statements released by members of Arizona's congressional delegation regarding the reported confirmation of the death of Kayla Jean Mueller of Prescott, Arizona:.
The thoughts and prayers of the people of Arizona, America, and the civilized world are with the Mueller family at this terrible hour. Kayla devoted her young life to helping people in need around the world, to healing the sick and bringing light to some of the darkest and most desperate places on Earth.
She deserves to be remembered for dedicating her life to the service of others. I join so many across Arizona and around the globe in offering my deepest condolences to Kayla's family. The best thing Congress can do now is authorize the mission against ISIL to let our allies and our adversaries know that we are united in our resolve. Kayla grew up here, played in our playgrounds, studied at our schools, and volunteered in our community.
But she didn't stay here - she was compelled by compassion to work in faraway places devastated by war and violence. I join all Arizonans and all Americans in sending our thoughts to their family and the entire community of Prescott. Her work on behalf of humanitarian causes will never be forgotten and her legacy of love and generosity, even in the face of terror, will be forever remembered.
But this nation never relents, and it never gives up. The American people must be resolved now to bring justice to Kayla's captors. We must put an end to this monstrous violence based on intolerance. We must endeavor to remain brave and strong in the face of those who wish to terrify, just as Kayla did. Her tireless dedication to alleviating suffering and seeking peace for all will be forever remembered. Only the most malicious of enemies would seek to capture and threaten such a person for their own gains.
This is the enemy we face today. While the United States must support efforts to end the madness, only a coordinated response led and fully endorsed by Arab nations in the region will stop the bloodshed. Kayla placed herself in harm's way to alleviate suffering where it was happening most. Her death underscores the profound need for Arab nations to unite and fight for the peace she gave her life to help bring to their region.
I believe it is important for our citizens to have an idea of the many functions we perform and the output from those activates. Everything from their processes to their actions has been scrutinized by the general public. Although some of this scrutiny may not be above board, the vast majority of it is notable. Much of the time, the underlying request from the public is transparency. At times, complete transparency may be restricted for very real and legal reasons.
A couple of examples would be undercover investigations and cases involving juveniles. Many times, the public is more interested in general information. In that vein, the City of Lakeway Police Department has now put much more data on our city website. Under the police section of our main site, on the left-side column, we have created three new informational portals. The first portal is the traffic data portal. This feature provides information such as where traffic stops are occurring and what citations are being issued. All of this data is now available and will be maintained monthly.
The second portal is the crash data. Here, one will find a heat map that was generated by our crime analyst, Mike Olsen. The crash reports that have been generated over the past few years are now plotted on the map. The user can see how many crashes have occurred on particular streets or in certain intersections. The data also includes the officer's opinion for the crash as indicated on the crash report. The third portal is the department's performance measures and statistics presentation. This section has information and data about the wide range of department activates.
This informational offering to our public is one small way to provide better service and improve our communication. Our ability to engage our public is an area of interest that I continually look for ways to improve. For instance, after discussions with some citizens, it became apparent that we should find a resource to allow them to see what reported criminal activities occurred in their neighborhoods.
We now offer a link from our police webpage to Crime Reports. This program plots the reports taken by our officers in the various areas of our city. It also offers an anonymous tip feature to allow for information to be sent to the police department without having to reveal your identity. We have found this feature to be quit beneficial for collecting information about criminal activity in our area. For the first time, our officers will carry with them a small handbook to give out to our youth who may need some inspiration or a message of hope for their future. The Handbook for Success, authored by local resident William Hyche, which includes a foreword from me, is tailored for youth and young adults who may need some guidance down a path for success.
We are excited about the opportunity to engage the mind of some of our young citizens and partner with them in a way which can be beneficial for both parties. Along with these informational outlets, we also offer opportunities to engage our officers and department staff at a more intimate level through local events. For the past two years, we have offered a safe venue for our local families with kids to attend to celebrate Halloween. Last year, it is estimated that we hosted approximately 4, visitors to this safe and fun family venue.
In , we hosted our first citizens police academy. The citizens police academy was created to bridge the gap between the community and the police. We discovered that education was the key in creating understanding and cooperation. Once citizens understood the how and why of police operations, they were more supportive, trusting, and helpful to the police department. Academy attendees forged personal relationships with our staff and officers. These relationships led to amazing cooperative achievements and a very high level of trust. However, decisions were made recently to try other means to engage our community, so the citizens police academy has been put on hold to try other initiatives.
We hope that the aforementioned electronic platforms, the book and the community events will provide exchange and relationship-building opportunities to our community. It is through these avenues that we may clarify the methods and means by which we carry out our mission.
We recognize that keeping our community safe requires us to partner with our citizens and businesses. It is our desire that these new communication tools, and the others that follow, will continue to promote a healthy working relationship with our citizens and thus a safer city.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. Thank you all for being here.
Attorney for the Northern District of California, Melinda Haag, for her help in pulling together this important meeting. It is a privilege to join you in advancing this discussion this afternoon, and to have the opportunity to help shine a light on the remarkable work you perform each and every day.
I'd particularly like to recognize the tireless efforts of the men and women of the Oakland Police Department, who stand on the front lines of our work to improve public safety. As the brother of a retired police officer, I know in a deeply personal way how courageous these public servants are. I have seen the tremendous and often-unheralded sacrifices that they and their loved ones are routinely called upon to make. I have also seen the destructive consequences that too often accompany any loss of trust between our brave law enforcement officers and the communities they are entrusted to serve and protect.
Recent events have cast a stark light on rifts that have emerged throughout the country. I am especially mindful, as we gather today, of the devastating and barbaric attack that we suffered in New York City in December. They serve as tragic reminders of the dangers that all of our officers regularly face. And this incident has lent new urgency to our ongoing, national conversation. Over the past six years, through the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services and other components, the Department of Justice has taken significant steps to provide our law enforcement officers with access to the tools and support they need to do their jobs as safely and effectively as possible.
Going forward, we will continue to make good on our deep commitment to building understanding and cooperation between our officers and the communities they serve. Before we open today's discussion, I'd like to provide you all with a brief update on some of the constructive steps we're taking to do just that, to help address these urgent issues in cities and towns across America, and to advance this broad, inclusive dialogue at the national level.
We cannot squander this opportunity to have the kind of dialogue - I think - is needed to begin the kind of change we need in this nation. The people of this great city deserve an outstanding, world-class police force that works alongside local residents to protect public safety. Oakland's brave officers deserve the cutting-edge tools, the very latest training, and the steadfast support they need to do their jobs with maximum safety, efficacy, and fairness. As this work unfolds, I want you to know that the Justice Department will continue to rely on your leadership, your expertise, and your unique perspectives to help ensure that we can bridge longstanding divisions between law enforcement and the communities they serve.
This is a great community that has, I think, shown itself to be a leader of so many things on the national level.
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In partnership with you, and through the leadership of U. I am eager to hear from all of you on how we can best achieve these goals. I appreciate your guidance and engagement. And I look forward to everything we'll accomplish together in the critical days ahead. Over the last several months, I have been fortunate to travel across the country to convene a series of roundtable discussions aimed at strengthening and fostering enduring relationships between America's brave law enforcement officers and the communities they serve.
And each has been vitally important in enabling the Justice Department to take this important, national dialogue to a new level. I recently continued this effort in Oakland and San Francisco, California. In Oakland, I was proud to join a group of over 50 leaders and engaged citizens in an inclusive conversation about the challenges they've faced throughout the metropolitan area, as well as the promising work that's underway to address those challenges.
I have been moved to hear from valorous police officers, who risk their lives every day to secure their communities, as well as parents who express very real concern about the safety of their children. In every one of these roundtables, as passionate, engaged people have come together to advance a positive dialogue and confront lingering mistrust, it has been clear that citizens of all perspectives are bound together not only by common values, but common aims: safer streets, stronger communities, and enhanced protections for all.
That's why the Justice Department is continuing to fulfill these aims not only with discussion, but with sustained and deliberate action. Through our Office of Community Oriented Policing Services COPS and other components, the Department is making good on its pledge to provide law enforcement with access to the tools and support they need to do their jobs as safely and effectively as possible. With the launch of our National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice, we're striving to strengthen the partnerships between community members and law enforcement professionals at every level of government.
At the same time, at President Obama's direction, the Administration is taking a range of steps to improve the way we equip our law enforcement agencies, to invest in body-worn cameras and cutting-edge training, and to better facilitate broad-based community engagement. Through the President's groundbreaking Task Force on 21st Century Policing, we're bringing law enforcement leaders and experts together to provide strong, national direction on a scale not seen in nearly half a century.
And going forward, we intend to continue to use every tool at our disposal to enhance our capacity to combat crime while restoring public trust. I strongly believe that, by engaging in forthright and action-oriented discussions, we can make real and effective progress in advancing the cause of justice in communities across the country. Although my time in the Obama Administration will soon draw to a close, my personal commitment to this work will remain steadfast.
Thanks to everything I've heard from the remarkable citizens and police officers I've met in recent weeks, I am confident in where this vital work will lead us. And I'm optimistic about the transformative results that we will achieve together in the days ahead. Another Voice: To address policing crisis, Cuomo should refocus on community policing. Andrew M. It is scattershot and peripheral to the essential problem.
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Cops were sent chasing after statistical crime hot spots. Police agencies large and small had learned to generate crime statistics that made their political masters look good. Foreseeably, this had its downside. In New York City, it has become increasingly evident that the need to produce ever-declining crime numbers has generated relentless pressure extending down through every echelon of the Police Department.
Precinct commanders who don't produce the desired numbers find their careers dead-ended. To drive numbers down, serious crimes, including sexual assault, have been routinely downgraded and victims discouraged from filing complaints. Officers are given quotas that they have learned to meet by stopping and frisking young men of color and writing people up for trivial violations. These ubiquitous policing tactics have turned police agencies into numbers-driven enterprises that have lost touch with those sectors of the community most affected both by crime and heavy-handed policing.
Crime numbers may be going down, but public dissatisfaction with police is skyrocketing. Prior to the age of Bratton, there was a vibrant community policing movement that aspired to genuine partnership between police agencies and community stakeholders. If Cuomo really wants to confront the major civil rights issue of the day, he will find a way to spark a resurgence of the community policing movement. In minority communities, leaders of the faith community are generally the most respected and effective leaders.
The governor's proposal can empower them and they can in turn partner as equals with police and other municipal agencies to work together to improve quality of life in their neighborhoods. Lima Police Chief Kevin Martin anticipated it would be about six to eight months before community-oriented policing would be in place. For Martin, this is a very positive first step in fostering positive relationships between the community and law enforcement.
The neighborhood officers will be a big step in getting that done. Fire Inspector Chris Jackson also reported on efforts to recruit minorities into the Fire Department. Mayor Betsy Hodges appeared on national television Sunday to talk about police-community relations in Minneapolis , an issue that vaulted the first-term mayor to national prominence last fall following a highly publicized dispute with the city's police union.
Melissa Harris-Perry introduced Hodges as a guest on her eponymous show on MSNBC by mentioning Pointergate , the Internet firestorm that followed police union chief John Delmonico's controversial comments in a TV news story questioning the mayor's support of police officers. What we have in our city, though, is a chief and a mayor both who are committed to strong community policing and doing what's needed to make sure we are working together on behalf of public safety. When pressed for specifics on what officials were doing to regain public trust, Hodges pointed to a recently-released U.
Note: The Long Beach Police Department has taken steps recently to improve relations with the communities it serves. The move comes in the wake of nationwide protests that followed killings by police officers of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Mo. But amid a backdrop of complaints over racial profiling and use of excessive force, many question whether enough is being done to repair ties.
VoiceWaves spoke to six community residents and activists about their views. The Activist Michael Brown, 36, helped launch the local chapter of Black Lives Matter, a national movement that aims to put the spotlight on police violence targeting African Americans. He says when it comes to community policing, there needs to be more accountability.
That would include the ability to force out officers involved in shootings such as in Fergusson, Missouri last August.
Though crime was high, he says, many people refused to call the police. So LeBaron began attending community watch meetings, where he spoke to residents and learned that many were too embarrassed to call, thinking the police had betting things to do. Let us come and respond. Not long after, calls began coming in and crime rates soon fell. Le Baron credits that in part to the more than community watch groups that formed during his tenure.
Meetings are run by residents, and happen on people's front lawns, living rooms, or in community centers. Despite the successes, however, LeBaron is aware of the challenges that remain, including the bad press that comes with police interactions gone awry. The Youth Long Beach City College student Corleone Ham, 20, says youth of color are most often the targets of profiling, and that if anything, LBPD officers need more training on how to interact with youth. He added that he knows a number of students on gang injunction lists even if they're not affiliated with a gang.
The 'Black Guy with a Hoodie' Robert Howard, 34, says in his younger days he was often pulled over, at least once a week. I see that they have their hand over their holster. We need to break down some of these biases against police. That starts on both sides. The police-community relationship is forever a work in progress. Boyer served as a street cop with the LBPD for 20 years.
In , Don Jackson, a former police sergeant from Hawthorne, went driving in Long Beach with an undercover NBC camera crew to document incidences of profiling targeting African Americans. When an LBPD officer pulled Jackson over, a scuffle ensued with the officer later slamming Jackson's head through a plate glass window. The camera crew caught the whole thing. The CPCC came soon after, allowing citizens to issue complaints and have commissioners conduct subsequent investigations. It was the first step in opening up channels of communication that Boyer says is central to building trust.
The Immigrant It was a cold, rainy day in when Yusnei Garcia, 25, was driving her son home from the doctor. She heard about a local sheriff's deputy who allegedly had gone rouge, profiling and pulling over undocumented Latina mothers by Roosevelt elementary school. Turns out she herself would be pulled over by that same deputy. He asked why I didn't have a driver's license. Similar statements involving the same officer were compiled in a report prepared by the National Lawyers Guild of Los Angeles. Garcia's car was impounded, and she later lost her job at a Los Angeles catering business.
She had no way to make the trek out there anymore. Garcia says being undocumented makes relying on the police difficult. William Williams. Williams settles on Unkamet Street. Committees to hire a Minister. Williams's First Election as Clerk. Williams's House and Garden. The Meeting-house raised. Sketch of Rev. Thomas Allen. Timothy Childs. Pittsfield contributes in Aid of the Sufferers by the Port-Bill.
Changes in Capt. Noble's Company. John Brown and Col. Easton join the Party. Easton raises Men for the Expedition. Rank of the Officers fixed. Allen and Capt; Mott. Hinman of Connecticut by the Provincial Congress, and resigns. Easton appointed to fill the Vacancy. James Noble's Pittsfield Company Easton proposes an Invasion of Canada.
Schuyler appointed Department Commander. Appointed to command the Lake Fleet. John's commences. John's surrenders. Easton's Regiment advances to the St. Patterson's Regiment at Cambridge. Hiding-place of the Tories. Allen's Diary at White Plains. Brown charged with creating Dissensions. Allen's Diary at Ticonderoga. Brown's Lake George Expedition. Allen's Position. Their Statement.
Goodrich by the Committee. Lincoln establishes Headquarters at Pittsfield. Destruction of the Old Meeting-House. Town House and Academy erected. Thomas Allen's Revolutionary Diary Allen's Account of the Battle of Bennington.. Van Schaack Collection. Whatever strengthens our local attachments is favorable both to individual and national character.
Our home, our birthplace, our native land, - think for a while what the virtues are which arise out of the feelings connected with these words; and, if thou hast any intellectual eyes, thou wilt then perceive the connection between topography and patriotism. Beware of those who are homeless by choice: you have no hold on a human being whose affections are, without a tap-root. The traveller who enters the mountain-walls of its upland valley soon recognizes the intense individuality of this region, and feels that he is among a peculiar people as well as amid novel scenes; and this notwithstanding the large infusion of foreign population into the manufacturing districts, and the constant tidal currents between city and country life, which have gone far to smooth away the strong although never very rugged lines that used to make the aspect of society no less picturesque than that of Nature.
The stranger with a moderately observant eye will soon perceive that the old lineaments, however softened, are still there; and he may often find them starting into prominence, which leaves the lineal likeness unmistakable. The people of Berkshire are the true children of their home among the hills. They are very much what its geographical and 3. Our first consideration, then, is of the influences of this kind which have tended to modify in them the common type of Massachusetts man.
Berkshire, the extreme western portion of the Pilgrim Commonwealth, is divided from the counties of Columbia and Rensselaer, in New York, by a right line which runs for fifty-one miles along the summits of the Taconic Mountains. On the north, a straight boundary of fourteen miles separates it from Vermont; but the town of Munroe,-,belonging to Franklin County, juts into its north-eastern corner.
Immediately south of that point, the width of Berkshire is about eighteen miles. Thence a line, rendered very irregular by numerous attempts to rectify the boundaries of towns and counties, divides the Hoosac Mountains, between Berkshire on the west, and Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire on the east. Upon the south, the line again becomes straight, and runs for twenty-four miles along the borders of Connecticut.
Thus the four cardinal boundaries of Berkshire lie along four different States, including that of which it forms a part. The region thus defined, containing an area of a little over nine hundred and fifty square miles, forms a conspicuous feature in one of the most remarkable phases of New-England geography, as described, upon the authority of Prof.
Guyot's observations, in Palfrey's history of that section: and no better basis for a clear comprehension of the physical conformation of Berkshire could be desired than a slightly condensed extract from that work: - "Only moderate elevations," says Dr. Palfrey, "present themselves along the greater part of the New-England coast.
Inland, the great topographical feature is a double belt of highlands, separated almost to their bases by the deep and broad valley of the Connecticut River, and running parallel to each other from the south-south-west to the north-north-east, till around the sources of that river they unite in a wide space of table-land, from which streams descend in different directions. They are vast swells of land, of an average elevation of a thousand feet above the level of the 1 With the exception of a slight deviation at the south, caused by the cession of Boston Corner.
The western system, which bears the general name of the Green Mountains, is composed of two principal chains,l more or less continuous, covered, like several shorter ones which run along them, with the forests and herbage to which they owe their name. BEetween these, a longitudinal valley can be traced, though with some interruptions, from Connecticut to Northern Vermont. In Massachusetts, it is marked by the Housatonic; in Vermont, by the rich basins which hold the villages of Bennington, Manchester, and Rutland; and, farther on, by valleys of less note From a height of less than a thousand feet in Connecticut, they rise to an average of twenty-five hundred feet in Massachusetts, where the majestic Greylock, isolated between the two chains, lifts its head to the stature of thirty-five hundred feet.
In Vermont, Equinox and Stratton Mountains, near Manchester, are thirty-seven hundred feet high; Killington Peak, near Rutland, rises forty-two hundred feet; Mansfield Mountain, at the northern extremity, overtops the rest of the Green-mountain range with an altitude of forty-four hundred feet. In Connecticut, its bottom is from five hundred to seven hundred feet above the level of the sea. In Southern Berkshire, it is eight hundred feet: it rises thence two hundred feet to Pittsfield, and one hundred more to the foot of Greylock; whence it declines to the bed of the Housatonic in one direction, and to an average height of little more than five hundred feet in Vermont in the other.
Thus it is in Berkshire County that the western swell presents, if not the most elevated peaks, yet the most compact and consolidated structure. And nowhere else is the combination of its grand but unfrowning circumvallation of hills, with the varied beauty which it encircles,' The Taconics on the west, and the Hoosacs on the east.
On the west sweep the Taconics, in that majestic curve whose grace travellers familiar with the mountain white villages at their feet, and, if the sunlight favor, paths of mingled lawn and wood enticing to their summits; while from the north, " Greylock, cloud-girdled on his purple throne," looks grandly across the valley to the giant heights keeping watch and ward over the pass where the mountains throw wide their everlasting gates to let the winding Housatonic flow peacefully towards the sea.
On every side, the exquisite curves of this graceful stream, and the slender threads of its innumerable tributaries, embroider the rich green of the meadows and the more sombre verdure of the uplands; while not far away, although not all visible, sparkle the bright waters of six beautiful lakelets, companions to " The stream whose silver-braided rills Fling their unclasping bracelets from the hills, Till, in one gleam, beneath the forest's wings Melts the white glitter of a hundred springs. Below, the not unfitting centre of this amphitheatre of beauty, lies the village of Pittsfield, with its mansions and humbler homes, its marts, schools, and churches, half hidden by noble trees;.
A lovelier landscape one might not desire to see; and when, satiated with long, luxurious gazing, the spectator seeks to analyze the sources of his delight, all the elements of beauty justify his praise. To the eye, the valley here presents the proportions which architects love to give their favorite structures. The symmetry, too, with which point answers to opposing point, exceeds the power of art. Variety the most marvellous, but without confusion, forbids the sense to tire.
Colors the richest, softest, and most delicate, charm the eye, and vary with the ever-changing conditions of the atmosphere. Fertile farms and frequent villages imbue the scene with the warmth of generous life; while over all hangs a subdued grandeur which may well have pervaded the souls of the great and good men who have made Berkshire their home since the days of Jonathan Edwards.
The emotion of sublimity is not often excited by Berkshire scenery, unless the feeling inspired by the excess and overwhelming profusion of beauty with which, under certain favoring circumstances, it overflows, may be properly so classed. Boldness, freshness, and variety are the traits by which it charms; and they are those which one would most desire to characterize his home, and under whose healthful influences he would wish his children to be educated.
On the heights where Greylock lifts the topmost summit of the State, along the valleys of the Hoosac and the Housatonic, up the rude but flower-fringed wood-roads which penetrate the narrowing opes of the Green Mountains, beauty is everywhere the prevailing element. The rapidly-shifting scenes -never tame, but rarely rugged; never altogether repulsive, but 1 The reader will pardon to necessity the employment of a word of merely local authority and very infrequent use.
A hope - or more descriptively, without the aspirate, an ope - is a valley, which, open at one end only, loses itself at the other, sloping upward to a point in the mass of the mountains. The word is quite indispensable in the description of scenery like that of Berkshire; and its disuse has resulted in the adoption of such vile substitutes as " hole," "hollow," or even worse. Andrew, who knew well the scenes he praised; and the traveller along its winding roads recognizes at every turn how truthful and appropriate was the expression. But we must not linger, where all love to linger, amid the exceeding loveliness of Berkshire scenery; but turn to those facts regarding the geographical structure of the county, which, although not devoid of scenographic interest, affect also its internal economy, and its relations to its county-seat and central market-town.
Pittsfield Park, which lies very near the centre of the town, and of the county as well, has an elevation above the level of the-sea of one thousand and forty-one feet; and, omitting the small uninhabited mountain-districts, that is not far from the average altitude of the township. Of the neighboring mountains, isolated Greylock, the highest point of Massachusetts 3, feet above the level of the sea , rises 2, above Pittsfield, from which it is about fourteen miles distant as the crow flies.
Of the Hoosacs, some of the peaks near Vermont attain an altitude of two thousand feet above the valley at their bases; or perhaps fourteen hundred above Pittsfield. Among the Taconics, Berlin Mountain in Williamstown exceeds the latter level by 1, feet; Perry's Peak in Richmond, - famed for its superb over-view, - by 1,; and, near the extreme southwest, Mount Everett, the dome of the Taconics, by 1, Excluding from the computation these heights, which disproportionately excel their neighbors, the average elevation of the mountain-summits of Berkshire above Pittsfield Park may be about eight hundred feet; which is considerably less than their altitude above the level of the Berkshire Valley.
Chester Dewey estimated the general average of the Hoosac Range above the bottom of the valley at sixteen hundred feet; that of the Taconics, at twelve or fourteen hundred. Concisely to outline the geography of the Berkshire Hills, the grand uplifted table-land described by Dr. Palfrey must be considered as here cleft -above its solid substructure of a thousand feet- for a length of forty-eight miles, and to an average depth of fifteen hundred feet; while the longitudinal ridges thus formed are serrated by transverse valleys of less than one-third that average, supplemented by water-courses furrowed by the mountaintorrents.
Between the longitudinal ridges known as the Hoosac and Taconic Mountains lies the Berkshire Valley, having an average breadth of about six miles; although, except in Pittsfield and Sheffield, it is made to appear much more narrow by the spurs which protrude into it, and the isolated ranges with which it is thickly studded. In the basin formed by this valley and the declivities which incline toward it is concentrated the mass of population and wealth which lend character to the county. The natural outlines which give unity to the region are sufficiently well defined; but practically it is divided into minor compartments, so arranged, however, as to form a homogeneous whole, with a common centre.
In the northern section, the chief barrier which governs this division is the Greylock Range, which, beginning near the Vermont line, extends southward through Lanesborough. In the south, the less continuous Tom Ball Spur, thrown off by the Taconics at Alford, after being broken through by the Williams River at West Stockbridge, extends to Pittsfield, where it terminates abruptly in the Cliffwood terraces of South Mountain.
Between these intersections and the exterior walls of the county extend four valley-reaches, marked respectively by the east branches of the Hoosac and the Housatonic, by the west branches of 1 Where the track crosses the east branch of the Housatonic in Pittsfield. Into these grand subdivisions of the Berkshire Valley open a multitude of others of minor importance. Midway between the northern and southern boundaries of the county, the intersecting barriers disappear; and the confluent valleys merge in the six miles square occupied by the township of Pittsfield, the greater part of which is of moderately uneven surface, with large spaces approaching the character of plains.
Only rarely do the highways have to climb greater heights than afford an agreeable relief to the traveller; and few sections of the town oppose more obstacles to level streets than are found in many cities and towns in those portions of New England not accounted mountainous. The Taconics impinge but slightly upon its western border; the Hoosacs still more slightly upon its eastern. The only formidable elevations are Oceola and South Mountain, which cover a small territory in the south. It will readily be perceived that the peculiar divergence of the valleys which here find their common terminus make this favored locality the centre of the county in a sense and to a degree unknown in regions where the direction of roads is subject to hardly any other law than that which makes the shortest distance between two points a straight line.
Among the hills, on the contrary, every boy who goes to mill knows that the farthest road round is often the shortest way home. There are several flourishing centres of local traffic more convenient to their respective sections than Pittsfield is; but it needs only an inspection of the map to show how exclusively the disposition of the interior ridges of the county makes that the intersecting, radiating, decussating point of the great highways of Berkshire, -at once the only practical thoroughfare between her northern and southern divisions and the point where they meet each other.
The traveller at one of the extreme corners of the county, wishing to reach that longitudinally opposite, will never attempt to do so by the most direct route, - if, indeed, any exist which at all approximate directness,- but, at whatever cost of detour, by one of those which intersect at the central town. And, if this point is thus marked out by Nature as the centre of intercommunication by the highway, still more emphatically is it so for railway travel, which, by the necessities of the country, is.
In its intercourse with the world outside its mountains, Berkshire, before the introduction of railroads, was circumscribed almost as narrowly as in its internal thoroughfares. How formidable a barrier interposed between it and the rest of Massachusetts may be inferred from the fact that the least difficult access was by the Pontoosuck Turnpike. The Western Railroad now follows the general course of this route, sacrificing directness, sometimes, in order to lessen grades; and in a distance of twenty-five miles, between Tekoa Mountain and Washington Summit, -notwithstanding this sacrifice and the aid of the most skilful engineering, -it is compelled to ascend twelve hundred and eleven feet, of which eight hundred and thirty-seven are surmounted in the last half of the distance by a grade whose maximum is more than eighty-two feet to the mile.
The Pontoosuck Turnpike in its best estate was considered, as it really was, a marvel of engineering skill, and encountered no such grades as rendered the great parallel highways which ran north and south of it almost impassable at certain seasons of the year. In the last years previous to the building of the railroad, the stge-route over this road was famed also for the luxury of its coaches and the excellence of its horses;1 but Capt.
Marryatt, in his "American Diary," having graphically described the horrors of stage-travel over the Hoosacs, even when mitigated as perfectly as they could be, exclaimed upon "the madness of certain crazy spirits who had conceived the idea of constructing a railroad through this savage region. Upon those sides of the county which border upon other States, the passes were, as has been -intimated, less difficult. The banks of the Housatonic opened a convenient avenue along which intercourse with the Connecticut towns was uninterrupted.
So intimate was the connection of Berkshire with Hartford at the time of the Revolution that "The Courant" 1 was not only the medium through which the political contests of Pittsfield were carried on, but also contained the advertisements of the impounded cattle and runaway slaves of that town and of Great Barrington. Hartford continued to draw to itself a large portion of Berkshire trade until the railroads opened new avenues in other directions; but even before that era, after the establishment of steamboats upon the Hudson, it was successfully rivalled by the towns upon that river: and the tide of traffic flowed through the West-Stockbridge gate of the Taconics to Hudson, Kinderhook, and Albany, and thence to New York.
On the north-west, the pass of the Hoosacs, which, to the dismay of all Massachusetts, had long ago been found out by the French and Indian foe, in later times furnished a thoroughfare for more peaceful intercommunication; but, as no great markets then lay in that direction, it less affected the county.
These superior facilities for intercourse with other States than with. Massachusetts colored not only the business-relations, but the general character of the people of Berkshire; and, although the traits inherited from " Old-Hampshire "ancestry still formed the groundwork of thought and custom, and were continually reinvigorated by fresh migrations from the old home, they were modified by much which had been spontaneously engendered in the isolation of the hills, or ingrafted from those with whom contact was more frequent than with kindred in the Connecticut Valley.
The Western Railroad has much reduced this disparity in the external communications of the county. The journey to Boston, which in the best times of staging consumed two weary days, now insensibly glides away in a comfortable ride of six hours. Berkshire, pleasantly conscious of the iron bands that bind her to the rest of 1 The files of " The Hartford Courant," of which two sets, nearly or quite complete, are in existence, - one in possession of the present publishers of the paper, and the other in that of the Connecticut Historical Society, - are full of most precious matter for the historian.
Returning to the description of the interior geography of Berkshire: the bottom of the valley rises, with the bed of the Housatonic, about two hundred and sixty feet from Sheffield to the forks of that river at Pittsfield; thence the bed of the western branch rises over one hundred feet, to the foot of Greylock in New Ashford,,where it finds the summit of that division of the main valley. The many-headed eastern branch is formed by the confluence of innumerable rivulets, which spring up among the hills of Peru, Washington, Windsor, and Hinsdale.
In Dalton, it is of sufficient capacity to drive the wheels of the large paper-manufactories of that town; and at Coltsville, where it enters Pittsfield, it furnishes one of the best water-powers of the Upper Housatonic. At this point, it receives Unkamet Brook, a large tributary which rises in Partridge Meadow, in the north-eastern corner of Pittsfield. This meadow is a singular formation upon the summit of the eastern water-shed of the Berkshire Valley, and about fifty feet above the level of the Housatonic, at the junction of its branches.
Filled with pools formed by boiling springs, -the common fountains of two rivers, —-so level is its surface, that oftentimes it depends upon chance which of the drops that bubble up side by side shall flow into Unkamet Brook, and through the Housatonic to the Sound; and which into the Hoosac, and through the Hudson to the sea. So slight, indeed, is the rising of the valley-bottom in this vicinity, that a dam raised four feet above the level of the highway at Coltsville would turn all the waters that come in from Dalton, and from Unkamet Brook, northward, into the Hoosac.
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Thus the summit of the Berkshire Valley, as it rises northward from Connecticut, and southward from the Vermont line, is formed by a ridge extending diagonally from New Ashford, across Lanesborough, to Coltsville; the descent from its highest point in New Ashford to Sheffield being nearly four hundred feet; and upon its opposite declivity five hundred feet, to its lowest point in Williamstown. Berkshire, the mountain county of Massachusetts, is hardly less.
But, although they add a thousand graces to the landscape, we shall not stay to describe or even enumerate them. They act, however, an important part in the economy of the county; being employed as reservoirs in which to store up the waters, which, in seasons of flood, the rivers pour with wasteful impetuosity to the sea. For this purpose, many of the lakes have been considerably enlarged by means of dams of stone masonry of sufficient strength to resist the immense pressure which is often imposed upon them. Their numbers have also been re-enforced by reservoirs, wholly artificial, formed by massive barriers of stone thrown, at great expense, across the outlets of mountain-rivulets.
These parvenus of Nature often rival the ancient lakes in extent of surface, and sometimes, as in Wahconah Reservoir at Windsor, in depth. The waters pent up with this costly economy, as well as those which in the free streams trip with rippling laughter to their tasks, are made to do giant's work before they escape out of the county. Mainly by their aid, manufactures have come to be the chief source of its material prosperity; so that seventeen millions, of the twenty-four million dollars returned as the value of its industrial products in , were derived from that source.
The principal branches into which the manufactures of Berkshire are divided are, in the order of the comparative value of their products, woollen and cotton cloths, paper, crude iron, leather, flour, lime, and glass. There is one large paper-mill in Pittsfield; but Lee and Dalton are the great paper-making towns, each sending more of that product to market than any others on the continent. Cylinder glass is made at East Lanesborough and Cheshire, and plate glass at Lenox Furnace, from the purest and best granulated quartz known, of which inexhaustible beds are scattered in Berkshire.
Iron to the annual value of seven hundred and twenty-six thousand dollars is made from a superior brown hematite, of which deposits are abundant. Lime is made from pure carbonates to the value of seventy-five thousand dollars annually; and the marble quarries of Berkshire are famous. Facilities for the intermixture of soils, and abundant deposits of marl and muck, favor the improvement of inferior lands; while the mountain-grazing tracts afford cheap pasturage for herds of cattle and sheep, to whose breeding much successful attention has been given.
In addition to the sources of wealth of which the official statistician takes note, that of Berkshire is augmented by the attractions which its superb scenery and the purity of its atmosphere offer to permanent and migratory residents, summer travellers, and students in its numerous literary institutions. The expenditures incident to the working of the railroads which traverse the county are also a source of no little emolument to its citizens.
The great variety of resources, thus only partially enumerated, tend to prevent, in a great measure, those periods of distress which are apt to overtake whole communities, when, depending upon a single fountain of employment, they find that suddenly dried up.
Diversity of occupation has also its beneficial effect upon the intellectual character of the people, in modes of operation which need not be specified. Such, analytically, is the fair county, which, in the early pages of this chapter, we attempted to portray as a whole. Somewhat more cheerless must have been its aspect when the white man first began to penetrate its wilds; and especially when he found it shrouded in the snows of winter. There is extant an old Dutch map it sends a shudder through one to remember it , upon which, across a ghastly expanse of white, denoting the whole territory which is now Berkshire and Vermont, stretch in frightful loneliness the frigid syllables, Win-ter-berg-e, -" Winter Mountains," -meaning the hills which we, with a pleasant fiction of perpetual summer, christen Green: a very dreary map, and surely not the work of any speculator in wild lands upon the IIoosac Mountains.
Yet even then Berkshire had a unity in its natural features,. Time has developed and strengthened these characteristics; but there is no reason to doubt, that, from the first, they were patent to such men as Wendell, Stoddard, Pomeroy, the Williamses, and others, who, with shrewdness as well as energy, pushed Massachusetts civilization towards the Hudson. The name of the Winterberge suggests that the geographical nomenclature of Berkshire has undergone great changes since the days of the Dutch explorers.
In the ancient records, deeds, leases, and the like, of this as of other localities, the aboriginal names are often spelled with lamentable carelessness or caprice; two or three forms of the same word often appearing in a single document. Every provincial scrivener held himself at liberty to satisfy his own notions of euphony by lopping off, eliminating, or selecting from the luxuriant syllables which were said to have been growing since the confusion of Babel.
The result is, that the dismembered trunks of the unfortunate victims often defy recognition by any except the most patient and painstaking philology. The name Taconic, for instance, -however regretfully,we yield the guttural and natural gh to persistent innovation, - assumes more than two score of transformations in the archives of Massachusetts; now expanding to generous Taughkaughnick, and now shrinking to curt Tacon: while the original form, Taghkanak, is derived from Taakhan, or Taghkan, "a wood;" and aki, "place; " and, as applied to the mountains may be translated, "The Forest Hills.
The whole difficulty has, however, we apprehend, arisen from the very natural mistake of seeking for the word " Housatonic " an aboriginal derivation, while its primitive form was, in fact, Dutch. In the writings of the early settlers and surveyors, and even of the missionaries, no word suffered more severely from the confused orthography of the period than this. Its transmutations were innumerable. Hubbard of Ipswich, the early New-England annalist, wrote, Ausotunnoog; which has a quasi Algonquin twang, and was, doubtless, communicated to him through the medium of Algonquin throats, whose owners could, nevertheless, have gathered from the grating sounds only a purely arbitrary meaning.
If Mr. Hubbard had asked them why they so designated the river, they could have given him no better reason than that of the comic song, — "The reason why they called him John Was because it was his name. Sergeant and Hopkins, the earliest preachers among the Indians, wrote Housatunnok; but comparison with other forms leads to the belief that what is now pronounced as the first syllable was originally two, -Ho-us. President Dwight preferred Hooestennuc, and, probably, with good reason; although the meaning which he ascribes to the word, "the river beyond the mountains," after the most patient and laborious research by the most competent students, finds nothing to give it.
And yet, in a certain sense, this may have been the meaning attached to it by the Mohegans; for, if the name was bestowed while the tribe, dwelling in the Valley of the Hudson, were accustomed annually to cross the Taconics for hunting-seasons in the Valley of the Housatonic, the name of the latter river, whatever, may have been the original signification of its syllables, would have represented to them, in ordinary thought, the river beyond the mountains: precisely as when the Narragansett slaughter was 2.
But in process of time the relation in which the river was most commonly contemplated would communicate its peculiar significance to its name. The chiefs Konkapot - or, not to dwarf their somewhat unmanageable patronymic, Poph-ne-honnuh-woh - were men of good natural parts, and received excellent educations. They were also profoundly versed in all the lore of their tribe. From them were obtained the names given by the natives to many features of Berkshire geography, and the translations of their meaning; but they could make nothing except an arbitrary appellation of the word "Housatonic;" nor could Hendrick Aupaumut, the professed chronicler of his people.
Several missionaries familiarized themselves with the Mohegan tongue, and,'Since the foregoing paragraphs were written, we have been informed by Mr. Charles J. Taylor, that, in the copy of the deeds of the Upper and Lower Housatonic townships, the name of the river is given once as the " Housatonic or Westanock," and again as the "Housatonic or Westonook. Taylor, who has given much thought and investigation to the subject, has no doubt, that, in the different deeds and patents of the Livingston Manor, the words, "Wawwichtonock," " Wawyachtanock," " Wawijchtanok," and " Wawijachtanook " are as correct representations of the Indian pronunciation of the word we call Housatonic as the writers of those papers could make with our alphabet.
Dwight's inquiries were made by him as a curious traveller, rather than as an exact philologist. Hammond Trumbull, the most eminent student at the present day in the Algonquin dialects, and perhaps in all the aboriginal languages tf North America, confesses himself unable to find a satisfactory interpretation for the refractory syllables. The most plausible suggestion, which considers the word as of Algonquin origin, is that of Dr. O'Callaghan, the able historian of the State of New York, who supposes it to be derived from alusson, " rock," and Aki, "place;" the at being introduced for the sake of euphony.
This theory is favored by the fact that the Stockbridge chiefs, in their address to the Commissioners of the Provinces at Albany in , characterized their home as "a rocky place. And the still more serious difficulty lies in its way, that it is inapplicable to several of the more frequent forms which the word assumes. Now, to abandon the field which has been so faithfully explored with such meagre results, let us turn to one which is at least fresh, if, at first thought, less promising. Previous to the Revolution, then, a chorographic map of the Province of New York, including the disputed territory as far as the Connecticut River, was, by order of Gov.
Tryon, compiled from actual surveys deposited in the patent office. This authoritative work was published at London in , and reproduced in , in the first volume of " The Documentary History of New York," where the reader may probably have access to it. And, upon inspecting the course of the Housatonic River, he will find, that near its source it is styled the Stratford, and above tide-water the Westenhok or Housatunnuk.
The difference, it will readily be perceived, between the Dutch 1 Rev. Field, the accurate, learned, and painstaking historian of the county, is silent on this subject; and Rev. William Allen, the best authority upon matters pertaining to the early Berkshire divines, says in a note to his poem at the Berkshire Jubilee, " It is remarkable that none of the teachers of the Indians have in any of their writings given the meaning of the word'Housatonic.
Westenhok and President Dwight's Hooestennuc, - or, as it is also written, Hooestenok, - is barely the transfer of the aspirate from the last syllable to the first. The inference is almost irresistible, that the long-sought derivation of our musical Housatonic is found in the not unmusical Dutch of Westenhok; for it is hardly possible that so close a resemblance between the two names of the river was a mere accidental coincidence. The translation of the word is, " West corner," or "nook " ; and the appellation Housatonic is thus both truthfully and poetically descriptive of the winding river of our western nook among the mountains.
The origin and subsequent transformations of the name may easily be deduced from well-authenticated facts. The capital village of the Mohegans was at Schodac on the Hudson, but little farther than twenty-five miles from the Housatonic at Pittsfield. Here Hendrick Hudson, in , visited them in " The HalfMoon," and, forming the chain of friendship, commenced an intercourse which was kept up from that time, with little intermission, by the Dutch of the New Netherlands.
Trading and military posts were established at Castle Island 1 in , and, three years later, at the mouth of the Tawasentha. In , we find Jacob Elkins, an active and energetic commander and commercial agent, prosecuting a quiet traffic, already commenced, with the Mohawks and Mohegans; while his " scouting-parties were constantly engaged in exploring all the neighboring country, and in becoming better acquainted with the savage tribes around them, with all of whom it was the constant policy of the Dutch to cultivate the most friendly relations.
Now, the Mohegans, in their first intercourse with these winsome strangers, whenever they had occasion to speak of the winding-river-of-their-hunting-grounds-beyond-the-mountains, doubtless indicated it by some 1 A locality now so completely merged in the city of Albany as to almost lose its insular character. The clumsy appellation which we have supposed must have been extremely inconvenient for the busy fur-traders, who, instead of the more common practice of curtailing its undue proportions, succeeded in persuading the natives to adopt in its stead the simpler Westenhok; which was the name of a tract of land that lay between the Housatonic in Sheffield, and its large tributary, now known as Salmon Creek, which rises on the west of the Taconics, and joins the main stream at South Canaan in Connecticut.
The river thus received its name in the upper part of its course from the district which it there washed, as, in the lower, it took that of the town which stood at its mouth, — Stratford. When it first began to be so called is uncertain. In the grant of the lands of Westenhook' in , they are described as thus known; and both they and the river may have been so for a century before inquiry began to be made into the origin and meaning of the word "Housatonic.
It may be added, in further explanation of the obscurity which hangs over this subject, that, if the truth concerning it ever became known to any Massachusetts investigator during the period when the New-York boundary was in dispute, he would have been almost sure to suppress it, as tending to support the Dutch claim to priority of occupation; and, for the same reason, he may have shrewdly favored that orthography which most effectually concealed the European features of Westenhook under an aboriginal mask.
The boundary disputes were not settled until the year previous to the breaking-out of the Revolution; and the jealousies which they engendered still linger in the more old-fashioned nooks of both New York and Berkshire: so that truths which are inconsistent with prejudice on either side are apt to be pushed out of sight. A CORRECT general idea of the position which the territory whose history we are about to narrate occupies in the geographical and physical system of Berkshire has, we trust, been conveyed by the preceding chapter. And to most readers the name of Pittsfield is familiar as that of one of the most charming country towns in New England, a favorite resort of the traveller in search of health or pleasure, a seat of thriving manufactories and flourishing institutions of learning, and as, from time to time, the home of men of note.
A somewhat more minute description of some of its physical characteristics will, however, facilitate a comprehension of its story. Pittsfield is fortunate in its neighboring towns, scarce one of which but possesses some attraction for the visitor peculiar to itself: while many are widely celebrated for rural loveliness and exquisite scenery; for literary, historical, and religious associations; for connection with gigantic physical enterprises; for mineral wealth, or for remarkable manufactures.
Of the towns which adjoin it, Lanesborough, its next northern neighbor, rivals in its natural scenery the most famous localities of Berkshire; is of fine agricultural capacity; has boarding-schools of much repute; possesses superior beds of brown hematite ore, and of granular quartz, with costly furnaces for their conversion respec Dalton -of paper-making fame, and containing more than one beautiful and wealthy village -lies upon the east. Mountainous and picturesque Washington encloses its south-eastern angle. Lenox, the favorite and famous summer resort, bounds it partially upon the south; on which side it is also joined by Richmond, a noble agricultural town, and rich also in iron mines and marble.
On the west, the long and narrow town of Hancock- with its fertile and beautiful valley, its romantic hills, and its neat Shaker village, "the city of peace"- interposes a strip barely two miles wide between Pittsfield and New Lebanon, the seat of the popular mineral springs and the capital of the Shaker Church.
Pittsfield has already been described as of moderately uneven surface, and nearly surrounded by mountains, through which, by convenient passes, narrow but rich valleys stretch away to the extremities of the county. The lakes and streams with which it abounds have as yet been, equally with its central position, the sources of its material prosperity; and we shall give them our next attention.
Six lakes or lakelets lie wholly or in part within the town: all of them beautiful, and some of them noted for their graceful outlines and the delightful combinations which they form with the surrounding mountains. All more or less directly feed streams which furnish motive-power to large manufactories; and fbur have had their capacities for this purpose artificially increased.
Fanciful legends attach to some of the prettiest; and all have a veritable history of their own. Pontoosuc, the second in size, lies upon the northern border of Pittsfield, Lanesborough claiming more than half its surface. Previous to its enlargement, which took place in , it was a mile and a quarter long, and at its broadest point three-quarters of a mile wide; covering an area of four hundred and twenty-five acres.
It now covers five hundred and seventy-five; the increase being chiefly in Lanesborough. Before this change, two little islets dotted its bosom; and the highway, after passing a noble grove of pines,- the relic of one of the finest forests which ever grew in Berkshire, - and some much admired isolated trees of deciduous growth, skirted close along the graceful windings of the whole eastern shore. Luke's, and Pratt's Hills, Round Rock, and other noble elevations, to that grand background of so many Berkshire views,"where look majestic forth From their twin thrones the giants of the north, On the rude shapes, that, crouching at their knees, Stretch their broad shoulders, rough with shaggy trees.
On the west, some two miles away, lay globe-crested Mount Honwee and other Taconic summits, often reflected by the glassy lake in mirror-like perfection, and if it chanced to be of a clear, still day, after the mountain sides had put on their October hues, presenting a spectacle of rare gorgeousness. Pontoosuc Lake, as it was, is a picture - nay, a cabinet of pictures —wfich lives among the choicest memories of thousands. It is, perhaps, not less lovely now; but all the nearer charms of the landscape are changed, and even the more distant assume a new aspect.
Island and pillared grove are gone, submerged by the rising waters; and the traveller passing over the highway, now made to climb the neighboring hill, finds new beauties, but not the same. The landscape may in time become even more charming than it was of old; although neither the eye of man nor the dashing of the wavelet can at once accustom itself to the new demarcations. But the Pittsfield lakes, great as have been the changes in their outlines, have been still more unstable in their nomenclature. Thus, the Mohegan name of Pontoosuc was Shoon-keek-moon-keek; and it was so designated in the deeds which conveyed its shores to their first white occupants.
Some settlers from Middlesex County having planted New Framingham, Shoon-keek-moon-keek was, in accordance with the common fate of Indian names, soon lost in Framingham Pond. The plantation developing into the town of Lanesborough: then came Lanesborough Pond; although by the matter-of-fact people of Pittsfield, who always took their bearings from their meeting-house, it was often styled the North, as other sheets of water were called East, West, and South Ponds. But, in , the Pontoosuc Woollen Manufacturing Company. One of its appellations has, however, been omitted from the catalogue; it having been for many years in familiar conversation called "Joe Keiler's Farm:" from the anecdote that a wag of that name once bargained it away, and actually made a deed of it, to a New-York citizen, who mistook it, when covered with snow and ice, for a level expanse, and had the good taste to be charmed with the singular and romantic situation of its broad surface among the hills.
Lake Onota, which lies in a pretty upland basin, a little more than a mile west of the Park, is the largest and most beautiful sheet of water in Berkshire; excepting, as regards size, one or two artificial reservoirs. Before its enlargement, which was made in , it was a mile and three-quarters long, and three-quarters of a mile wide; having an area of four hundred and eighty-six acres, which is now increased to six hundred and eighty-three. The elevation of its surface caused great changes in the outlines of its northern and western shores; and destroyed its most marked feature, which was a division of its waters by a causeway into two independent lakes, of which the northern, and much the smaller,1 was formed by a dam thrown across its outlet by those industrious builders of a race now long extinct, in Berkshire, - the beavers.
Traces of their workmanship were distinctly visible until they were recently submerged by the labors of engineers as indefatigable and more Titanic than themselves. On the western shore, the larger pebbles of the beach - some of which, indeed, might aspire to the title of boulders- were thrown up by the action of ice into a wall, which had all the semblance of a work of art.
Indeed, it was the old-time faith of the neighborhood, that it was built by the Indians as a screen from behind which they might shoot the deer which were accustomed to resort to the lake,-not so much to drink, which they might have done as well at a hundred brooks, as to lie through the heat of the summer days in its cooling waves, with their nostrils, however, necessarily exposed.
Certain it is, that this old wall was 1 It had an area of about thirty-four acres. This curious illustration of the power of floating ice -like the causeway which used to divide the waters -is now hidden when the lake-surface is at its ordinary height; and possibly the same agency which built, may in time remove it to the new line of the shore. But, great as have been the changes which Onota has undergone, they have affected its curious rather than its picturesque features; and its beauty is increased instead of being impaired. From the hill upon its south-western shore, which was fortified in the old French and Indian wars, a greater number of fine views are afforded than perhaps from any other spot of equal compass in Berkshire; and, of these, the most pleasing are those which embrace the lake and the mountains, which, beyond it, stretch away to ever-present Greylock.
Richmond Lake, which formerly lay about equally in the town of that name and in Pittsfield, was originally of a nearly circular form, and had an area of ninety-eight acres. In , it was enlarged to two hundred and fifty, -the greater portion of the addition being in Pittsfield, - and lost that regular spherical figure by which it used to be pleasantly recognized from the mountain-tops. Upon the old maps, Richmond Lake is South Pond; and a small body near it, now long since drained, was designated Rathbun's Pond, in reference to Valentine Rathbun, who, about the year , built clothiers' works near it.
Silver is the pretty but not over distinctive name of the pretty lakelet which the traveller over the Western Railroad observes, as, entering the village from the east, he passes its northern verge. It now covers about sixty acres, having been enlarged in , as one of the reservoirs of the Pittsfield cotton-factory. It was known among the first settlers as Ensign's Pond, from Jacob Ensign, who built the first fulling-mill in Pittsfield, and owned the land along the eastern borders of the lake.
In later days, a hat-factory was erected on its northern shore, and it took the name of Hatter's Pond. But the hatters went elsewhere; and the name, having lost its significance, gave place to the present less ugly although not strikingly novel appellation. The secluded lakelet, of some thirty acres extent, -about a mile east of Silver Lake, and, like it, connected by a short outlet with the eastern branch of the. The meadow in which it lies was, on the earliest plans, named "Unkamet's;" and the lakelet was perhaps entitled to the same appellation.
But it was early known as Goodrich Pond, from one of the most noted settlers, who owned large tracts of land in that vicinity; and there seems no good reason why the name of the stout old patriot and worthy magistrate should not continue to be preserved in the name of Goodrich Lake. Last, and among the loveliest of the group, is Melville Lake, of perhaps thirty-five acres, lying east, a little to the north, of South Mountain, - a gem-like, crystal water, hidden among groves interlaced with frequent picturesque paths, that often debouch upon sunny lawns or gravelly beaches.
It has for many years been a favorite haunt of some of the most celebrated men in politics and literature, while guests of the broad-hailed mansion in whose grounds it is included, and which has been successively the hospitable. The lakelet has borne in turn the names of all these owners; but, on the county map, it appears as Lilly Bowl, an exceedingly descriptive although fanciful designation bestowed by the family of the present proprietor.
The name of Melville is, however, surrounded by too many pleasant and honorable associations to be lightly abandoned; and the people cling to it with a pertinacity which promises to be lasting. Melville Lake it will doubtless continue to be in ordinary usage; while Lilly Bowl may be its pet or poetic title, -a result which is certainly not to be regretted assthetically. Melville Lake sends its surplus waters to the Housatonic through Wampenum Brook, a little stream, which, on its passage from above, touches its northern edge.
This brook, rising in the meadows on the north-west of South Mountain, passes through a little pond of the same name at the foot of the mountain, and crosses the highway a little south of the Housatonic Railroad. It furnishes a small water-power, but is here chiefly noted as a convenient landmark for future reference.
It derives its name from Wampenum, who, with Mahtookamin and Cochecomeek, claimed the soil upon which Pittsfield is built, and leased it to Col. John Stoddard. By the terms of the lease, the land would have long since reverted to its red owners and. Let us not begrudge them that. The forks of the Housatonic River unite in Pittsfield, two miles north of the Lenox line, and a few rods south of the Pittsfield Cotton Factory. The eastern, formerly known as the main, branch has already been described, with its chief tributaries, Silver and Goodrich Lakes and Unkamet Brook.
The western branch rises in New Ashford, passes through Lanesborough, and enters Pittsfield in Pontoosuc Lake, which is properly an expansion of its waters. Issuing thence, it runs southerly, almost in a direct line, to Pomeroy's factories, where it turns abruptly to the south-east, and, after the passage of about a mile, joins the main stream.
This branch was laid down on some of the old maps as the Pontoosuc River. Three-quarters of a mile north of the Park, it receives the waters of Lake Onota through Onota Brook, a beautiful streamlet which flows through the Pittsfield cemetery. A few rods south of Pomeroy's factories, it is joined by Shaker Brook; which rises in several fountains among the Taconics of Richmond and Hancock, and is swollen on its way by the drainage, through a canal, of Richmond Lake, and by the accession of several minor tributaries.
Down each of the Taconic gorges rushes a mountain brook, often of sufficient power to run a saw-mill; but, in order to give an intelligible delineation of these, it will be necessary to interrupt our tracing of the streams, that we may first fix the locations of the mountains, valleys, and opes, from which they flow. Mount Honwee is the name given, on the authority of an Indian lease in which it is so called,' to the large rounded summit, - conspicuous in the Pittsfield view of the Taconics, —which, lying almost entirely in Hancock, juts into the little oblong notch in the north-west corner of the town boundaries.
The word Honwee in the Iroquois tongue signified " men," and, as here used, is perhaps a fragment of the term Ongwe Honwe, - men surpassing all others, -a title which the Iroquois arrogated to themselves, and may have bestowed upon this eminence in token, that as the mountain of the Iroquois surpassed the neighboring hills in magnitude and symmetry, - in compactness as well,- so the nation excelled others 1 Williams Papers.
But, whether the name was assigned for this or some other reason, it would be in vain now to speculate. Writers of deeds in the busy times of Old-Hampshire land speculation were wont to mutilate names more destructively than by the clean elision of one half a cumbrous compound. The mountain immediately south of Honwee was christened in this quaint wise: it was a part of the lands bequeathed by the founder of Williams College; and while, during the proceedings necessary to a legal transfer of the property, the title of the trustees was inchoate, they bargained with Capt.
John Churchill to convey this hill to him, for a stipulated consideration, as soon as their interest in it was perfected.