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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Community policing seen through different lens

Do not use without permission.
Two Cobb Cty., Ga. cops
I used to and still want to trust the police.
Although my recently adopted mantra is "Trust no one except God," I remember traveling on business to New York City and finding myself abandoned at Grand Central Station. Spotting a black police officer in the crowd, I asked him to watch my luggage while I made a phone call. I trusted him. When I returned, he told me, "Lady, don't ever do that again!" He then walked me to a cab, deposited me and my luggage into the backseat, and told the driver to take me to my destination on Wall Street. That was in the '70's. I would never travel alone in NYC now!
In this new age, a time when pseudo cops are gunning down teens and real cops are shooting old ladies in their beds in the middle of the night, it's time for a new conversation on policing. "The Law" as they call themselves on occasion, are laughed at during Andy Griffin reruns set in Mayberry RFD.  In real life, cops are feared for what they could do - kill you for no good reason and get away with it.
Welcome to Alabama! This phrase was spoken to me at 2:00 a.m. on a Southern Highway after five police cars filled with rifle and revolver strapped officers stopped me and my fiancĂ©. I never will know if this stop was legit or just a few police trying to have fun on a dark highway. "Don't move, or I'll kill you," met me at the barrel of a shotgun as I exited our green van filled with old furniture. "Your vehicle matched the description of one reported to be transporting firearms across state lines," he explained, but we were never given an apology for being threatened with death. I give credit to God for saving my life that night.
Will I ever approach a policeman again when I need help?  Will I not be afraid when I spot a police car in my rearview mirror? I know they can kill me and pretty much get away with it...In a "Christian" country professing the Sixth Commandment "Thou shall not kill," aren't cops trained to use deadly force and not maim? That dichotomy is the reason for my unease.
And what about NY City cops deliberately going on hiatus from ticketing? ( I guess citizens are glad they are not getting harassed for minor infractions, a money maker for government coffers. Who are they protecting and serving?
These are questions that need to be answered if I can ever trust "The Law" again.

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