Pubdate: Wed, 21 Mar 2001
Source: Commercial Appeal (TN)
Copyright: 2001 The Commercial Appeal
Contact:  Box 334, Memphis, TN 38101
Fax: (901)529-6445
Author: Judie Plumley


Your March 15 article about a drug raid on the wrong house is typical of 
the way more and more citizens are being treated by law enforcement 
officers. Time after time we read about people's rights being violated by 
organizations whose job is supposed to be to protect and to serve.

I realize that police officers are under a lot of pressure, and they feel 
their safety comes first, ahead of any might-be criminal they want to 
arrest. Do they realize their attitude is hampering the job they are 
supposed to be doing? Why should we trust them when they treat us with 
total contempt, are allowed to abuse us by actions that would be illegal if 
they were done by anyone else, and then try to hide their mistakes by 
saying they had just cause to suspect?

An officer of the law has it in his or her power to ruin a life, whether 
justified or not. Even if a person is innocent, an arrest costs money for 
making bond, hiring an attorney and taking time off from work, and causes 
emotional damage.

Every time an officer of the law acts unprofessionally, loses his or her 
temper, takes advantage of a bad situation, or harasses or mistreats a 
person, police lose respect in the eyes of the public. I'm sure there are 
good officers out there, but the bad ones breed mistrust for all.

There is no excuse for police brutality. If law enforcement agencies expect 
their officers to be respected, they need to teach them to act in an 
upright, respectable and responsible manner.

Judie Plumley Walls, Miss.
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