William Delaney
William Delaney

An Ethnic Profile

Chapter 3

 

You Can't make chicken salad out of chicken shit

 

Hugh Wade, Professor at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore

 

Danter Andreotti, was a 21 year veteran at 52 years of age, when in 1962 Police Chief Thomas Cahill named him to head the department's newly created police community realtions unit, the first in the nation.

 

Andreotti said: "I had no ideas, no background, no experience; I learned from the streets and I am glad for what they taught me!"  The directive for Dan and one assistant was to go into minority communities and teach respect for the law.  I went out, got brused and batter; I was naive, he said.  If the product was salable we wouldn't need community relations.  The program was public relations oriented, we were to "tell" the people: "These are the laws, help us do our jobs!"

 

Explaining the department is something you do after you have proved yourself credible.  You can talk to your heart's content, but f people don't see tangible results, you lose them; word gets around that you can't do anything.  We held meetings, but couldn't get foot soldiers to understand that ours was an important job. Most patrolmen believed law and order was what you impose,  rather than serve and protect citizen's rights.

 

Instead of trying to communicate to ethnic minorities that laws were to protect them, they espoused that police stood between them and chaos; that they had to be controlled, while police were above the law.  Dan estimated that 90 percent of officers were hostile toward community relations; as lieutenant, he got no lip, but his officers heard taunts like: "How do you like working in the commie relations unit, have you got your NAACP Card, nigger/nigger lovers.

 

City fathers and department heads refused to help as did local businesses.  He sent a letter to the 4,500 Member San Francisco Merchant's Association asking for Jobs for blacks and did not get one response.  A televised plea brough in hate mail.  One letter signed, a San Francisco Merchant said: "I wouldn't give you 10 cents an hour for your dirty niggers.  

 

I became a member of the unit in 1967.  

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