How a retired police officer became an OJPC volunteer
April is Volunteer Month. This blog post was penned by one of OJPC’s regular volunteers, Roger Hildebrand.
Thirty years with the Cincinnati Police Department followed by twenty as an insurance fraud investigator gives me a unique view of life, humanity and our system of justice. I’ve seen a thing or two — for fifty years, I met people at their worst, often a result of their unlawful behavior.
My career was part of a system that requires a person to face consequences for their criminal misdeeds. I’m good with that. It’s part of the process that keeps us safe. Overall, our justice system generally does a good job; working to get it right by treating people fairly and impartially.
But with all the good intentions and checks and balances, I’ve seen the flaws. Not everybody gets a fair shake. Some innocent persons are wrongfully charged — some are wrongfully convicted and imprisoned. I don’t have the numbers; I leave it to others to analyze. But, in my opinion, one wrongfully imprisoned person is too many.
Through years of experience, I’ve also learned that society is better served – and safer – when those imprisoned are treated humanely and prepared for re-entry to society (as nearly all will, at some point). Society, then, has an obligation to give returning citizens a fair shake; in particular with employment opportunities. It’s the right thing to do.
So, in recent retirement, I heard about the Ohio Justice and Policy Center. In particular, the inspiring story of how OJPC’s David Singleton and staff nobly fought on behalf of Tyra Patterson. I met the OJPC team and learned about the good work they do on so many other issues: human rights in prison, fair hiring and housing, and so much more. I was impressed by their dedication. I offered up whatever skills I might have developed over 50 years to assist the OJPC cause.
They put me to work — and I’m enjoying it.