Writer disavows Editor’s caption and cuts | PostIndependent.com

Writer disavows Editor’s caption and cuts

Clara Smith

Dear Editor,

Front page of 1/8/03 PI, the outgoing sheriff Tom Dalessandri spoke the exact point, which was extinguished from my 12/20/02 letter regarding police abuse of the public. The chosen caption “Glenwood police officer over-reacted” changed the officer’s abuse towards me when my truck died in traffic to him simply overreacting. Nothing could have been further from the truth.

He approached what he knew was a stalled vehicle inciting its driver intending to write tickets aplenty, and in spite of my concerted efforts to reason with him, he was not moved. Until his authority arrived at my request, his behavior and choices were a perfect example of abusive police powers. In my opinion the officer incitingly used the letter of the law rather than the intent of law within his power-over demeanor. Of course the short and long-term costs would not have damaged him one iota. Different story for me.

People who intend to ignore rules of safe driving deserve their negative consequences and ought to be dealt with appropriately. My stalled vehicle and my safe, expedient, successful actions to remove it from rush hour traffic did not put me in that category. In light of Dalessandri’s point to not be afraid to challenge law enforcement and keep them in line, I offer a second example of bust and hassle police work. Some time back our entire family was leaving Sunday worship services here in the valley when a policeman stopped us for dodging a foot deep pothole in the middle of the road. He told us if he’d had a bad lunch that day, he’d write us $300 or $400 of citations.

Also cut from my December letter about Glenwood’s city council “crack down” directive, was that it will be a shame if Glenwood Springs is even further known for its breedbatious police department overshadowing its genuine awesomeness. Maybe someone should warn the tourists. Who, and especially a tourist town, needs arrogant, stiff-necked police officers who incite citizens for “heads for jail beds” or revenue for government? We Citizens, capital C not small c, are their bosses as Dalessandri stated and it was great to read his thoughts on this subject.

Citizens and governments have enough trouble staying according to Hoyle as it is. When encouraging a police department to look for the fight, remember fires, Citizens’ and tourists’ pinched cash flow, and the fear that reigns in many peoples’ hearts. With the world the way it is, a tourist town known for its breedbatious police department could be economically counterproductive. Former Fort Collins Mayor Kirkpatrick in a letter to the PI stated she wouldn’t be spending her money in Glenwood anymore.

The day the officer was tyrannical to me I experienced exactly how easy it is for a human with perceived absolute authority to incite their victims if that’s their intent. The officer’s excuse after his authority stepped in was that he had shoveled mud all day, I say he watched too many cop shows. Those in authority are held to a higher standard, synonymous to the authoritative power they are responsible for. The multiple verbal threats of incarceration and the discompassionate demeanor from that officer was a disgusting experience especially when help was what I needed and even though it ended in my favor.

These thoughts were the bigger picture of my 12/20 PI letter and my intent was to warn other Citizens. Dalessandri’s statements were solid confirmation of what I know and experienced. I do not consider all humans in a police uniform as a threat, and in fact have been very grateful for their assistance. Many are good people and do a professional job. Contrarily, when experiencing abuse from a power-over peace officer that is exercising bust and hassle instead of serve and protect, follow Dalessandri’s directives, challenge them and keep them in line.


Clara Smith

El Jebel

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