I am amazed at a couple of recent articles in the News and Sentinel. First is the one about a former Parkersburg police officer who was alleged to have downloaded Internet porn onto another officer's laptop. I do not know if this was a police department computer or personal. This same officer was also alleged to have stolen items after a traffic stop.
According to the commission's ruling, it did not dispute the alleged acts by the officer but stated "his conduct did not rise to the level to warrant termination." How bad does the crime have to be to warrant termination from a respected position on the police department?
In my opinion, this man should have been charged with these acts and brought before a court for judgment. If the court then found him not guilty he should have been allowed to continue on his chosen career path. However, if he were found guilty, he should have to pay the price, which should include termination from the force.
The second item tells of another officer from the same department who was arrested after passing a highway patrol officer and being chased at speeds approaching 85 mph, and when the patrol officer approached the man, he refused a breathalyzer test, failed the field sobriety tests and was charged with speeding and being "in contact with alcohol." He reportedly remains on the police force with a suspension. Does this mean that I can now be stopped by this officer, refuse a breathalyzer and field sobriety tests and not be charged with DUI? I certainly hope not, we have an oversupply of drunks on the road as it is.
It would appear we are in a situation here where a double standard applies, one for certain law enforcement officers and another more strict one for the remainder of us.
I have great admiration for any police officer who lives under the same laws and moral code as we are all expected to do, but there are a few who should be terminated immediately, regardless of what the civil service commissioners have to say.
If I have made any accusations against anyone in this letter which are not 100 percent true I sincerely apologize. However, if all I have stated here is true, someone should be paying the same price any other citizen of the community would.
Richard L. Smith