Re: Jan. 27 commentary, “De-escalation policy could help mend community trust.”
A recent editorial stated that training is needed for police officers to learn to calm volatile situations. This will help accomplish three goals: save lives and money while improving community relations.
One organization that can help with that training is the Dispute Resolution Center, an independent, nonprofit organization that provides accessible, high-quality dispute resolution services for people in the Austin area. The DRC, where I work, is a neutral, professional resource experienced in training for just this type of need. The basic mediation course includes ethics, listening, acknowledgment of emotions to defuse tension, communication techniques and problem identification, as well as other calming and bridge-building skills.
A more trusting community environment was created in Dallas after their training. Perhaps training police officers in mediation techniques here in Austin can also save lives and build community, as well as help alleviate millions in debt created through wrongful death lawsuits.
SUSAN SNELLER, AUSTIN
As a student financial aid counselor, I am proud of the work by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators to advocate for strong federal student aid programs to increase access and affordability for low-income students in higher education. Some of NASFAA’s advocacy includes simplification of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, “Super Pell” grants to encourage students to enroll in more credit hours per semester in order to graduate on time, eliminating student loan origination fees, reinstating graduate subsidized loans and continuation of public service loan forgiveness.
President Trump’s proposed fiscal year 2018 budget includes extensive cuts to federal student aid programs that are crucial for low- and middle-income students’ access to an affordable college education. NASFAA will continue to represent financial aid administrators, students and families across the United States in the fight for financial aid.
AMANDA PETROSIAN, BURLESON
Re: Jan. 30 article, “GOP House panelists OK release of secret memo on Russia probe.”
It’s hard to believe that Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee voted to release a partisan, inaccurate document after the Justice Department determined that its release would be “extraordinarily reckless.”
Congress is supposed to provide a “checks and balances” function in our government — but this oversight role apparently doesn’t apply to the Trump administration. Rather, many Republicans have joined the president’s attempt to subvert the Russia investigation by attacking the FBI and others involved in the investigation. Their goal is to create a false narrative that will allow the president to cast doubt on the validity of any of the special counsel’s findings that implicate the president and his campaign.
Mueller should be allowed to continue his investigation without interference from the president and his supporters. We should also vote in November to purge Congress of members who cannot avoid party loyalty to do what’s right for the country.
JODY HELMAN, AUSTIN
Missing among President Trump’s guests at his State of the Union speech was the man who took the president’s place in Vietnam. Hopefully, he didn’t return home beneath the flag that our president espouses to love.
Kneeling or standing during our national anthem doesn’t define patriotism; however, carrying Old Glory into battle does. During Vietnam, one rich man’s bone spurs kept him safely on the golf course; for the kid who went in Trump’s stead, his only course required courage, not a caddy.
A true patriot doesn’t evade duty. Visit the Vietnam Wall and see their names.
What you feel emanating from that field of glassy black is sacrifice; the fall-down-on-your-knees kind that was bloody, selfless and forever. What you see is a litany of heroes whose names still beckon attendees to stand in silent gratitude for those young lives spent buying the freedoms that every American expects — even draft-dodgers.
MARY ALICE ALTORFER, NEW BRAUNFELS
I believe that any compassionate person would accept and support the premise of the letter regarding the women’s march and supporting the International Violence Against Women Act and the Reach Every Mother and Child Act.
Proof of the necessity of her convictions were reflected in a headline in the American-Statesman the same day: “UT prof pleaded to felony, kept job.”
He choked his girlfriend, according to the article, more than once. For that, he must take a class on how to treat women and complete community service.
Thanks to the Statesman reporters’ work, this is now public knowledge.
JAMES BOLDEBUCK, AUSTIN
I was shocked but not really surprised when I read that Sen. Ted Cruz denied to NBC’s Kasie Hunt that he was instrumental in orchestrating the 16-day shutdown of the government by his attempt to defund Obamacare.
The current White House occupant lies about something he said or did that’s part of the public record, then doubles down on the media by calling it “fake news” — and it works every time. It’s no wonder that Senator “In It For Me” Cruz has decided that it can work for him, too.
I hope Texans are watching this charade and are ready to throw this charlatan out of office in 2018.
MARK DENNIS, LAKEWAY