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July 18, 1986 - Image 17

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-07-18

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possible hope. You see, justice has nothing
to do with the criminal justice ,system.
Whether someone committed a crime or
not is less important than the process
used to prove it. Lawyers will say to me
`of course the guy committed the crime,
there's no question he did it. But you've
got to prove that he did it. The fact that
a person is guilty is irrelevant.'
"Criminal attorneys love me," he con-
tinued. "They say I'm the greatest thing
that's ever happened here. And when you
consider that 8,200 people were arrested
last year, and each one needed a lawyer,
no wonder they love me."
Greenberg's view on the subject of
rehabilitation has been somewhat con-
troversial. He believes in strict punish-
ment for the offender. He also believes
that when a person reaches age 35, his
criminal tendencies drop to almost noth-
ing, no matter how active a criminal he
was before.
"I think he's looking at the downside of
life," Greenberg said. "He says,' I haven't
accomplished anything up to this point, so
now I'm going to settle down and accept
life. I'm going to live a nice, peaceful life.'
See, he's deciding to rehabilitate himself.
"You see, people get rehabilitation mix-
ed up," Greenberg added. "There's a
theory in sociology that says once a per-
son is rehabilitated any punishment
beyond that is worthless. My philosophy
is that punishment is a good thing in and
of itself regardless of whether the guy is
rehabilitated. Punishment is not just
revenge on the part of society, it's a means
of socialinstruction, teaching civilized peo-
ple in our culture that certain things
should not be done."
Greenberg has said often in the media
that real rehabilitation comes within the
self, that it is something that the criminal
has to decide to do himself.
"If someone says, 'I'm never going to do
it again,' that's just too convenient for me.
Colson, Ehrlichman, Dean; they have all
gone to see Jesus Christ, but the point is
they all rehabilitated after they were
caught and not before, and that's too con-
venient for me."
The chief believes in the death sentence
for a crime in which someone was killed.
Greehberg doesn't consider gun control a
serious issue. He said it stopped being
serious about 1880, because that's when
it went out of control.
"I think the disadvantages of having a
gun in the home far outweigh the advan-
tages, especially if you have kids," he said.
"I've gone to hundreds of homicide scenes,
and I always ask the same question, 'Is
that the burglar?' And it hasn't been the
burglar yet. It's always been Uncle Joe or
Aunt Missy or the neighbor next door or
my son or my daughter or my daddy. Then
you ask why someone has a gun, and he
says,`To protect my home against bur-
glars.' Well, he's not shooting any

burglars. He's shooting the ones he's sup-
posed to love."
Away from the action of the police
department, Greenberg settles down for a
soft drink and a pastry at shul. It takes
a while for him to go through the hugs,
kisses and handshakes he gives his fellow
worshippers. He gets nothing but smiles
and a great deal of support.
"He's a phenomenon here," Rabbi Alan
Cohen said. "This is a unique situation.
"But it's easy to see that he's a very im-
portant member of this Jewish commun-
Rabbi Cohen said that even the old line
Southern Jews, who seem to have their
own brand of aristocracy, were taken by
Greenberg's fierce desire to learn how to
be Jewish. Around the synagogue and
throughout the Jewish community, he is
called simply "Reuben."
If there is any complaint by any of the
congregants, it is that Greenberg often

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"I'm a cop. And when a guy
snatches a purse, I don't care
why he snatched the purse, it's
just that he did it."

seems to be caught up in all the publicity
he's receiving. Even the chief admitted he
was getting weary of doing all of the in-
terviews..He said a reporter flew in from
London, and he could only give him a half
hour. At the same time, however, Green-
berg knows he's good copy. There . just
aren't too many black Jewish crime stop-
pers around. And because people love an
underdog hero, Greenberg is a natural.
Greenberg has been getting his share of
requests to lecture on terrorism. He
recently delivered such an address to a
sisterhood-sponsored function at his
synagogue. He holds no quarter for ter-
rorism, and indicated he supported the
President's decision to bomb Libya.
The chief has also been to Israel. On a
recent UJA trip, he consulted with Israeli
police authorities on uses of computer
technology to fight crime. Israel, mean-
while, will be sending officers to
Charleston to see the success story up

A dispatcher's voice crackles over the
squad car's two-way radio calling for Unit
One. Greenberg is Unit One. He listens to
the requests on the radio and quickly and
confidently barks out commands.
He pulls through several poor black
Charleston neighborhoods pointing out
how street crime in the area has been

Continued on next page


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