… and ends up cleaning up the whole town.
A reader sent me a link to this article that reminds us of the accomplishments of Reuben Greenberg, who had such a distinguished career as police chief in Charleston. As we mull over just how big a mess the Columbia police department is in these days, and view the latest Highway Patrol video, we might long for such a top cop:
Reuben Greenberg was undoubtedly the ultimate "man bites dog" story, for what could be more unlikely than a black, observant Jew from Texas transforming a city in the heart of the Confederacy from a crime-ridden center of corruption to a uniquely well-managed place that cracked down on crime at the same time it virtually eliminated police brutality — and even rudeness? Greenberg told his cops that their job was not to punish (that was up to the courts), but to make arrests, and in order to do that they had to be on good terms with the citizens. Thus, he said early on in his memorable tenure, he would defend a policeman for using "excessive force" to make an arrest, but he would fire anyone who used abusive language with a citizen.