2013-09-13 / Letters

Police force has lost its way

To the editor:

It is time for us to say, ‘enough.’ This is my conclusion after reading your headline article on the Aug. 30 issue, “Police break up drinking parties,” in which you trumpet and applaud the most recent courageous acts of our so called Department of Public Safety.

We need less intrusion and control of our lives by others and need to be allowed to make our own decisions and to teach our children to do the same. And we do not need local police arresting them for petty crimes and ruining their lives – with encouragement from your paper.

It is difficult for me to challenge law enforcement as a father of four children and as a 30-plus year career professional responsible for developing and enforcing laws and policies concerning the security, health, safety and welfare of employees in private sector workplaces. But this is enough.

We live in a new and different age in which a simple summons or arrest can have a lasting effect on a young adult’s efforts to find and keep a job and to start to live a responsible life and to contribute to their communities. The police are criminalizing our children, our youth who are future leaders: honor students, college cross-country team members – by giving them a digital footprint that will hound them for years and dehumanizing them on the web. We call this service and promoting the public interest?

The Scarborough Police Facebook site’s regular posts of mug shots and the appalling comments by citizens is more than troubling. We are sponsoring cyber bullying by creating an environment that allows others to publicly pillory individuals who have simply been accused of crimes. This Facebook site has a new cover page that shows police with drawn Glock’s ready to fire with a ferocious attack dog. In a recent incident this summer a 19-year-old Washington state teen committed suicide following comments made by Idaho police on a Facebook site following his arrest.

How on earth does this promote public safety? When you attempt to challenge any of this and make a dissenting comment on the Scarborough Police Facebook page, it is responded to in a self-righteous and defensive manner or deleted immediately. This is outrageous and should be stopped immediately. Dissent needs to be allowed and we need to have an open dialogue about what our police are doing.

We need to regain control of our police and our town administration and let them know we need less policing and fewer cops, and town employees doing things for us – and refocus them on services that truly meet our basic needs and otherwise leave us free to make our own decisions.

I thought the goal of police was to protect and serve. In Scarborough the mission seems to be to make us to spread fear and increase dependency and control. They have turned local law enforcement from Andy of Mayberry into “The Terminator.” It is time to study how our police are carrying out their mission and how it is affecting our rights and privacy.

We seem to have lost our way in this town guided by professional managers and supported by a town council who fervently believe that more services, a larger budget, and more policing alone are good things. Let’s stop creating more demand for things we do not need.

Our real fear should not be about where teenagers are drinking in the woods, but where our town and police are taking us. On a path deep into the dark woods.

Enough.

Don Hamill Scarborough

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