Police agencies may be paranoid | PostIndependent.com

Police agencies may be paranoid

Out on a Limb
Ross L. Talbott
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Did you ever reflect on the incredible savings our culture would realize if there were no criminal activity? Just think: no jails, no locks, no safes, no D.A., no courts and no cops.

The police force is, unfortunately, a necessary part of our society. They supposedly serve the people, but I have never heard them ask anybody, “Well, how are we doing?”

We, the people have almost no say except very indirectly. Only the Garfield County sheriff is an elected position. There is virtually no accountability since everything they do is, of some necessity, kept secret.

I suggest all police agencies take an occasional survey to see what the people they purport to serve and who pay the taxes think of their performance.

All they need to ask is this one question: What is your instant response when you see a cop? A. I feel safe and protected or B., Oh crud, what now?

Another general observation is that police seem to disappear when they are out of uniform. Can you recall the last time you saw an off-duty officer in church or in a civic or social organization? Their whole identity seems to be wrapped in the badge and uniform.

Some years back, I was a guest speaker at a local church, and witnessed that rare occasion of an off-duty police officer at the service. In fact, he was an usher and helping to take up the offering. I counted three guns on that usher, one gun in a shoulder holster, one in the back belt and one in his boot. He might have been a little paranoid, but at least the offering was safe.

Actually, with all the school and church shootings, we probably need some armed ushers.

A local school has a sign, “No guns or weapons allowed.” I guess that means they are defenseless. Would common sense and experience suggest that maybe concealed weapons permits for teachers might be a good idea?

Given the nature of the job, I can understand the paranoia that sets in with police. In the case of the Garfield County Sheriff’s Department however, it seems to be running to the extreme.

The so-called “All Hazards Response Team” has not demonstrated its usefulness. They have yet to define these “hazards.” Can’t regular deputies do the job, or do we need super deputies in a terminator vehicle seizing little boys from their parents?

Does the idea of an armored vehicle roaring into your neighborhood and a bunch of AR-15-carrying, hooded guys jumping out make you feel A) safe and protected or B) Oh, crud, what now?

The taxpayers are expected to cough up almost a quarter of a million dollars for an armored vehicle for this SWAT team. Maybe it would be more appropriate for the Department of Social Services to sponsor this.

I am trying to understand the threat. Is it PETA, the Peace Alliance, the NRA, or just who is the perceived threat?

I spent several years on the Garfield Incident Command Group trying to anticipate all sorts of disasters and major crises and calculating a response. Never did any scenario call for an armored vehicle.

The keepers of the budget, aka the Garfield County commissioners, must demand a demonstration of necessity before this local army gets any more funding. Identify the enemy. Justify the expense. Do not waste our money.

A line from the old Pogo comic strip comes to mind: “We have met the enemy and they are us.”

Give us “free from!”

Ross L. Talbott lives in New Castle.

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