Former Congressman Gary Franks at a podium.

Congressman, Gary Franks, R-Waterford, Conn. shown June 1993. (AP Photo/John Duricka)

By Former Congressman Gary A. Franks

The Biden Administration’s message on cyberattacks and the apparent quick response from the Russians per new ransomware attacks should be of considerable concern for America.  The rash of gang-related killings of predominantly Black youth and children in our inner cities should be of grave concern for all Americans. Our immigration problem at the border is disconcerting as well.  Lastly, a President who in the latest polling by the Washington Post/ABC, is only at 50% approval and would be underwater were it not for his overwhelming black support, should be of concern. Yes, in about a half year in office, the majority population (White people) do not approve of the job performance of our president. Troubling.

I will first focus on the recent crime related murders of Black youth and children.

Following the Rutherford Hayes vs. Samuel Tilden 1876 historic presidential election, we had the Compromise of 1877 to determine the presidency. It was largely about the removal of Northern troops from the South. The Northern troops were assuring fairness, giving protection to newly freed Black slaves, and allowing Black Americans to have a political role in our democracy. They were detested by Southern Democrats. As part of the compromise the troops were removed, allowing for the birth of Jim Crow, a horrendous period for Black Americans.

Tilden went to bed on election night thinking he was going to be the next president of the United States, as he was leading in the popular vote. Weeks later, however, he learned that everything had turned around and Hayes was the “clear” winner of the election. This was followed by hundreds, if not thousands of Black Americans being killed in the South with no one ever finding out who killed them. No one seemed to care. 

Today, after an almost as contentious 2020 election, we have hundreds, if not thousands of Black Americans getting killed in our inner cities without anyone finding out who killed them and no one seeming to care.

It is well understood that beginning in the 19th Century it was Ku Klux Klan driven and today it is largely Black on Black crime, gang driven. However, in both instances, where Blacks resided, they were subject to being killed by bad people. The current government approach, if you can call it an approach, is failing.

Eliminating qualified immunity for individual police officers who could never pay any significant portion of a $27 million George Floyd family settlement nor defunding the police are viable and effective solutions.

Why not look to steal a page from the Fortune 500 corporations, I once spent 10 years working for three of them. They gave sizable bonuses whenever management achieved or exceeded expectations/MBO (Management By Objectives). Let the objectives in every major city be a reduction of crime and lowering the rate of murders. Pay our police unions directly or give the good police rank and file officer a bonus annually for doing their jobs in an excellent manner. Why not? They would deserve it!

Where there is a carrot there is usually a stick. Conversely, the police union, not the rank and file police officer, should be partially held responsible financially for the wrongful injury or death per any civil rights charge conceded via in court or in a city approved settlement payment. 

Add these two provisions to every large city or county police department and we would be taking a major step forward toward reversing negative trends we are all witnessing today.

The police unions should be anxious to get more money that would be shared with their members, the retention and recruitment of good young men and women should be encouraged as compensation would increase for doing an excellent job via a bonus that is obtainable on a sliding scale based on MBOs. And there should be a reduction, if not the elimination of police causing injury or death to black people in America. Only the bad police officers and their respective police unions would not benefit. 

We must think outside the box. Such policies would help make our communities safer.

Gary A. Franks served three-terms as U.S. representative for Connecticut’s 5th District. First Black Republican elected to the House in nearly 60 years & New England’s first Black Member of the House. He is host of the podcast We Speak Frankly. @GaryFranks.

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