The goals of the American police force are to enforce justice and uphold the law, which can only be met with good intentions and trustworthy employees. However, police brutality is an issue that occurs daily in America with little media coverage or national attention. In March of this year, Chattanooga Police Officers Adam Cooley and Sean Emmer were terminated after the release of graphic video footage of the brutal beating of an assault suspect that resulted in serious injuries. Cooley and Emmer have been a hot topic in local news for months, but would we know their names if the encounter had not been recorded? Perhaps their actions would have been written off as self-defense because the suspect lacks much credibility in court. Police brutality occurs more frequently than it makes headlines; statistics show that excessive force tactics have become a means of assuming power for many officers in larger cities, especially in urban areas with high minority populations. Offenders are seldom punished, and their actions are typically kept from media attention. Police brutality violates human rights and will persist until departments are forced to take responsibility for strictly enforcing policies regarding force and conduct. The public's only defense is to continue demanding accountability by recording and reporting misconduct.
An epidemic is on our nation's hands. Over the years, adolescent literacy rates have dropped below proficiency levels across the nation when tested by the urban National Assessment of Educational Progress, otherwise known as the nation's report card. The national average, according to the NAEP, at eighth-grade level in 2009 was only a score of 262 out of 500. Inner-city schools, like here in Chattanooga, did even worse than the national average. Atlanta, close to Chattanooga, only scored a 250. Something has to give. Educational leaders need to find a way to improve how adolescents can achieve higher literacy levels. One way to do this is by using today's modern technologies, like the Internet, tablets and laptops, to help students read at higher levels. Using electronic programs that are formatted to resemble fun games can be used as easy tools to encourage students to want to read. This way, students are using technology they use at home already to improve their literacy skills. If the methods we are using to teach are not working, we need to investigate this new way of learning. Students are our future, and they need to be educated.
ELIZABETH HUNTER, White House, Tenn.
The debate rages on in Chattanooga City Council meetings regarding same-sex spousal benefits. The very simple solution is that the City Council should no longer provide any spousal benefits. That is certainly non-discriminatory, fair and less costly to the city. The policy should be that if one does not work for the city, then the city provides no benefits. Spouses of every city employee can now go to www.Healthcare.gov and take care of themselves.
JEFF W. WELLS, Hixson