A couple weeks ago, my colleagues and I on the Town Board adopted a police reform and reinvention plan that reflected the collaborative work of an incredible committee that dedicated countless hours to the process. Their work was assisted and informed by discussions with and involvement from community members, school officials, members of the Bethlehem Police Department, and other valuable voices.
In addition to the many hours the committee spent in meetings, many more were put in behind the scenes drafting, pulling together data and citations, and editing the final report. The final product reflects the immense amount of time, thought, and energy that went into the report. I once again want to thank everyone involved for sharing their talents, perspectives, and passion with all of us as we collectively seek a more just and equitable future. Throughout the process we were also reminded how overwhelmingly wonderful the men and women in the Bethlehem Police Department are. Nothing angers a good cop more than a bad cop, and Bethlehem has many of the best officers around.
It has been said many times but it nonetheless bears repeating that this plan is not an end in and of itself. This is absolutely true because the greatest of plans are nothing if they do not result in action. Without action, a plan is mere words. There is much more work to do, and there will undoubtedly be tough discussions and decisions ahead, but I am confident that we will ultimately do the right things and get to the right place — together.
We must put community over division in action and not words. This plan and the process that led us here shows us that we can and must do better not just in law enforcement, but in all that we do. Together.
— James Foster,
Bethlehem Town Board
Editor’s Note: A similar letter of gratitude was shared by the Democrat members of Bethlehem’s town board. The author, a Republican, said he was not invited to sign along with them.