There is a liturgical tradition in which parishioners reflect on what they have done and what they have left undone. A secular equivalent for Whitewater would ask a policymaker to consider not merely what has been done so many times before, but what might – and should have been – done, years ago and now.
So it is with police accreditation: that Whitewater sought this certification for many years is hardly to the city’s credit. Indeed, one would expect that the city’s officials have the ability to manage these matters on their own with no announcements or awards for doing so. See Accreditation: What Would Anyone Have Done Differently?
Following the preferences of Whitewater’s former chiefs isn’t a virtue – it’s closer to a resplendent error. Longstanding practices of this kind will never substitute for genuine town-gown respect, or equality of treatment for all people within the city.
An out-of-town insurance agent‘s reassurances, specifically, amount to laughable hubris: an insurance company’s concerns about claims are neither a dispositive legal determination of liability nor a representation of residents’ experiences (as the insurance agent is not a resident).
Doubtless, there are some residents who will take comfort in accreditation.
And yet, and yet — the indication of Whitewater’s better condition will not come when other cities look at her accreditation checklist – it will come when other cities look to her work in town-gown relations or relations among demographic groups.
What’s been done matters less than what’s been left undone.