"... one of the foremost national experts on school and workplace violence, facility protection, evacuations, terrorism prevention and leadership training"   US Senate

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Vincent Bove Article

Published in:

ASIS International, NYC Chapter,
   Security Director Magazine, Winter 2005

The New Jersey Police Chief, December 2005

American Leadership in an Age of Scandal
By Vincent J. Bove, CPP

As America prepares to celebrate the 230th anniversary of its Declaration of Independence, it is wise to reflect on the opening words of Thomas Jefferson,

"When in the course of human events…"
Jefferson continues with clearly enumerating grievances against the British crown to stir up the patriot's response to massive and pervasive abuses of power. In 1858, senatorial candidate Abraham Lincoln described the stirring call of Jefferson's words as "the electric cord…that links the hearts of patriotic and liberty-loving people together."

Everything old is new again in that there is a clear and present massive and pervasive expression of an abuse of authority throughout all elements of American life. Although America's independence was earned through the sacrifices and courage of early patriots, Thomas Jefferson would have a field day with having to stir contemporary America to transformation from a culture ripe with abuses of authority. Jefferson, who was admired by Abraham Lincoln, would beckon present day American patriots to transform this great land with a new age of character, truthfulness and dedication to duty.

Current headlines, from news sources throughout the country, are replete with corruption revelations that exemplify the need for an American transformation. On July 18, 2005, San Diego, California's Acting Mayor Zucchet along with Councilman Inzunza were convicted on federal corruption charges including wire fraud, conspiracy and extortion (see article). John G. Rowland, the former governor of Connecticut, was driven from office by a corruption scandal and pleaded guilty on December 23, 2004 to a federal felony charge of "conspiracy to steal honest service (see article)." Currently, the former governor is in prison and as a convicted felon, ex-governor Rowland is no longer able to vote or hold public office.

In New Jersey, the former mayor of Marlboro Township, Matthew V. Scannapieco, pleaded guilty on April 12, 2005 to accepting $245,000.00 in bribes and tax evasion. The United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey, Christopher J. Christie stated,

"As Marlboro Township grew and faced development pressures, Scannapieco was there with his hand wide open."

Also in the Garden State, on February 23, 2005, FBI agents arrested 11 Monmouth County officials in a corruption roundup which included 3 sitting mayors, four current councilmen and a police commissioner. This front page headline in New Jersey papers rivaled the largest graft bust on one day in state history. This corruption sting of arrested public officials took place only 7 days after an enlightening and alarming congressional testimony of testimony of FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III on February 16, 2005. Director Mueller stated,

"Public corruption continues to pose the greatest threat level to the integrity of all levels of government. Recent investigative efforts have intensified to identify and convict Immigration, Department of State and DMV officials illegally selling visas or other citizenship documents and drivers licenses to anyone with enough money… Many major metropolitan areas in the United States have witnessed the indictment and conviction of corrupt public officials who betrayed the public trust for profit or personal gain… Over the last two years alone, the FBI has convicted more then 1,050 corrupt government employees, including 177 federal officials, 158 state officials and more then 365 police officers."

The culture of abuse is not isolated within the public service but is rampant throughout the private sector as well. WorldCom's former CEO, Bernard Ebbers remains the icon of a legion of private officials including such formally esteemed companies as Enron and Arthur Anderson, which now represent the culture of greed, dishonesty, dereliction of duty and arrogance. On March 15, 2005, Mr. Ebbers was found guilty on all 9 counts of securities fraud and making false statements to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (see article). Mr. Ebbers was sentenced to 25 years in prison on July 14, 2005.

The pandemic of the abuse of authority is also within the American school system at the highest levels of authority which disgracefully serves as horrendous example to American youth. On September 13, 2005, Angelo Petrone, the former Yonkers, New York school superintendent pleaded guilty to perjury and tampering with documents during an official investigation. Ex-superintendent Petrone was previously privileged to be responsible for the health, education and welfare of 26,500 students in 41 schools and now awaits sentencing.

Another grave and one of even greater magnitude within the very heart of America's school system is Ex-Chief Frank Tassone of Roslyn, New York who pleaded guilty on September 27, 2005 to first and second degree larceny (see article). Mr. Tassone's plea bargain will lead to a 4-12 year prison sentence and restitution of over $2 million. The district auditor of the Roslyn schools is also accused and the probe may lead to 50 other school districts and American schools most shameful and extraordinary theft and corruption scandal.

America's national pastime has also been gravely tainted by this dishonesty and abuse of privilege. House and Senate hearings have acknowledged that baseball's weak policies do not do enough to deter the use of steroids and banned substances to enhance an athlete's performance—cheating to get a competitive edge.

America's Response

Individuals within privileged levels of authority must realize that their positions are of sacrosanct trust and demand conduct beyond reproach. Positions of trust within both the public and private sector must walk along a pathway that is dedicated to service and highlighted by personal character, wisdom and integrity.

Abraham Lincoln remains an icon of service to country in the midst of conflict, turmoil and scandal. In the book, Lincoln's Virtues, An Ethical Biography, author William Lee Miller gives us a fresh, insightful and engaging story so critical for America's response to an age of many small minded individuals attracted to positions of power only for self-aggrandizement and whom are out of touch with the plight of many disenfranchised fellow citizens. As one studies Lincoln's actions, speeches and writing, as well as personal accounts from those who knew him, the book provides the current American culture of abuse with the needed response, that is, a progression of moral development of one preparing and dedicated to serve. Abraham Lincoln is the paragon of a great American politician, one who made the decision to enter American politics with full realization that the essence of service in American life must be grounded without reservation in moral responsibility. As a youth reading by the frontier fireside in order to develop his academic and moral fiber, Lincoln serves America to this very day as a model since the higher he rose and the greater the power, the worthier his conduct became. Lincoln's legacy holds the key to reversing the current scandalous trend of a public and private pestilence of corruption since he was not only a great man of profound authority but a man of unquestionable character. His character is inseparable from his thought, word and action and can be concisely understood from his words on February 27, 1860,

"Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it."

Hear and understand Abraham Lincoln well, all who are in positions of power and authority over the people of America.

Vincent J. Bove, CPP is a Board Certified Protection Professional, Board Certified Crime Prevention Specialist, Certified Law Enforcement Instructor and U.S. Department of Justice Certified Community Anti-Terrorism Awareness Trainer.

He is the 2007 New Jersey recipient of the prestigious FBI Director's Community Leadership Award and was hand-selected to serve as a facilitator and mentor for the 2007 National Conference on Ethics in America and speaker for the 2008 conference at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

"Vincent J. Bove is considered one of the foremost national experts on school and workplace violence prevention, specializing in facility protection, evacuations, terrorism prevention and leadership training." -- U.S. Senate

You can visit Mr. Bove's website at www.vincentbove.com or email him at vincent@vincentbove.com

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