Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Police Out of Control

Given the sinful nature of humanity, there would be chaos and anarchy without that thin blue line of the police. Just look at what happened (and still is happening) in Iraq when there was no law enforcement. The same could happen anywhere (and has).

However, occasionally the police abuse their power, use unnecessary force, or don’t do their jobs properly. There have been four situations recently mentioned in the news where these happened.

(1) University police repeatedly used a taser on a protesting student who was disrupting a speech.

(2) A police officer was caught on camera repeatedly using his taser on an unruly woman, who was not posing any serious threat to him.

(3) Despite being told there were additional occupants in a car that was in an accident, police failed to search the area. The father of the missing young man had to go out to the scene himself the next day and found his son dead. He may not have died if he had received prompt medical attention.

(4) Despite a husband reporting his wife as missing, the police did nothing and harassed him as a suspect in her disappearance. Finally after eight days, the police checked with the cell phone company and determined the area from which her cell phone was emitting a signal. They went out there and found the woman trapped in her wrecked car, dehydrated and injured. She may not live.

I mention these incidents, rare as they are, to emphasize that we, the citizens, must hold those in power accountable. This not only includes politicians, who can be voted out, but also the police and other government employees (including school administrators). A few bad apples can spoil the reputation of a whole department and city, as we have seen in Beacon. We have to pressure those in charge to remove these bad apples from the barrel.

I also mention this because it is important for anybody in a position of power and authority to use them wisely. You may think it doesn’t apply to you, but you are probably in a position of power and authority in some way: as a parent, in a supervisory position, as a church leader.

We must also support our police in any way we can, as well as support our school administrators and teachers. They are serving us, and we should support them in that effort. If you are a cop and your department doesn’t have a chaplain, talk to your PBA president about getting one.

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