POLICE: Remember where we live
I was momentarily taken aback when reading the headline in The Press about the planned protest calling for defunding and demilitarization of the Coeur d’Alene Police. WHAT?! I almost checked the date on the paper. The entire premise of the article was so ridiculous I thought for a moment that it was April 1 and that the piece was penned by none other than your seldom-seen reporter April Fuhl.
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, is the last place that should be pushing the panic button on heavy-handed police conduct. In more than 20 years of living here, I’ve not seen or read of poor behavior by the town police. Rather, I am comforted by a friendly and reassuring presence when I see them out in public. And thankfully, the Coeur d’Alene Police are available when the worst of scenarios require fast and decisive action. Imagine what the outcome might have been at last year’s Fourth of July fiasco in City Park, had they not been there to stop the shooting that erupted. I agree with Chief White that while the average street cop doesn’t need to be geared for battle, our SWAT team should have special tools to gain control of a situation when absolutely needed.
The organizers of this march need to remember where they live. We live in small-town America. We seem to employ cops with their heads on straight. If we don’t have a problem, why do they seek to fix “it?” This is a misuse of time on the protesters’ part and the article is a waste of column inches in this newspaper.
I do believe in early childhood education, family counseling and a host of other social programs. These safety nets can potentially change the course of lives of people who might otherwise end up in the juvenile or adult criminal justice system. But these programs will never fully eliminate social problems and crime. For that, we need the presence of law and order.
I believe the Coeur d’Alene Police are a well-run, well-trained and disciplined group with just the right touch when they face the public. To suggest that they somehow need to have their wings clipped is not grounded in reality.