Editorial: Boston needs voice of law enforcement on council

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Far too often, the public gets a stark reminder of why law enforcement is important.

Wednesday night’s mass shooting at a bowling alley in Lewiston, Me.; the gunfire at a Dorchester parade in August that left eight injured, the shootings that shatter the peace of Boston’s streets night and day. These are, sadly, just to name a few.

Law enforcement is vital to the central nervous system of this city, and a crucial voice at the table.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t have one.

The Boston City Council votes on the Boston Police Department budget, makes declarations and proclamations and protestations about neighborhood policing and safety, but none of the councilors knows what it’s like to work those streets as a police officer.

Enter Jose Ruiz.

The City Council candidate for District 5 has been in the BPD for 29 years. He can speak from experience of what’s needed to make communities safe, because he’s seen what happens when they’re not. And not from the vantage point of a press conference, or day-after statement at City Hall, but as a first responder at the scene of a crisis.

We need this wisdom and lived experience now more than ever. Even sections of the city not known for gun violence have been disrupted by demonstrations and riots in recent years, from outside agitators to home-grown protests. The rancor over the terrorist attacks in Israel has spurred a heightened sense of vigilance, particularly in public spaces.

While the council had a heated discussion last week regarding the Israel-Hamas war, police set up a barricade at the entrance to City Hall.

And no plan for Mass and Cass is possible without a BPD component, requiring officers to work in a dangerous, often violent area most people try to avoid.

None of this is abstract. Policing is boots on the ground, real-life, real-world efforts to keep Boston safe and communities strong.

We need a police veteran like Ruiz to add depth and breadth to the council.

The progressive agenda holds that crime can be solved not so much by going after criminals, but by strengthening the foundations of neighborhoods. Ruiz has that covered.

Uplifting communities has been a key part of Ruiz’ contributions to Boston. He organized the largest city-wide youth baseball and softball league, including life skills presentations for players. He doesn’t talk about giving back – he does it.

The elections on Nov. 7 will come and go. After the dust has settled, there will still be criminals trafficking in drugs and illegal firearms, there will still be murders committed with ghost guns, predators stalking the vulnerable, and any number of sudden, unexpected events that necessitate all hands on deck for local law enforcement.

These could be talking points for the city council, issues of debate swayed by agendas. Or, a new voice on the council could bring insight and expertise and ideas that have real-world resonance.

This is critical if Boston is to grow and thrive.

The city needs Jose Ruiz as councilor for District 5.



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