Local police chiefs and sheriffs had an opportunity today to meet with FBI Director James Comey. This is the 2nd time in his 10 year appointment to visit the state FBI office and as part of that he meets with law enforcement leadership from around the state.
He spoke briefly and then took questions for about 40 minutes. He talked about terrorism and what he thought we could be seeing in the next 3-5 years–sorry it is more opportunity for terrorists here at home like we are seeing in Europe. He talked a little about the situation with Apple and unlocking the phone of the San Bernadino terrorists and what that means going forward.
He also talked about his views on the changes in crime reporting. A Michigan State Police lieutenant colonel asked him to use his authority to restrict federal grants to states that don’t do incident crime reporting(the most accurate form). He raised a good point. Those few states like Michigan and Tennessee that use incident based reporting look like we have have worse crime problems than actually we do –because we are fully reporting and other states are not. It is a if-a-tree-falls-in-the- forest-is- there-a- noise-if-no-one-is-there-to-hear-it kind of argument. Is there a crime if it isn’t reported or reported accurately. Comey said he didn’t have a stick to do that but he’d try shaming. He knows that we are held accountable for “increases” in crime when in actuality it is only a more accurate accounting method.
He mentioned that he has a son who is graduating from college soon who wants to be a police officer. He said his son is about to enter a police academy. He’s doing it because he wants to help people he told his dad. Comie says he is very proud of his son but he worries that other high quality young people are not making the same choice and that will plague communities for years to come. One undersheriff told him that had already happened. People don’t want to be the police in this day and age.
All in all it was very interesting to hear what he is thinking about. I appreciate that he came to see us and was interested in what is important to us.