REGISTER VIEWPOINT: Policing police power

"To protect and to serve" is the motto of many a police department across the country. And despite the excellent protection a
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

"To protect and to serve" is the motto of many a police department across the country.

And despite the excellent protection and service provided by some individual police officers, it seems clear the administrative goal of the Sandusky Police Department is to protect its own rear and serve itself.

From the lack of straight answers to questions about department procedures and decisions -- on topics ranging from the campaign against the former and possibly future police chief to the shuffling of the police dog -- to the baffling chain of events that had a city commission candidate and community activist "mistakenly" listed as present during a drug arrest at her house -- except it wasn't even her house -- the police department as an entity has behaved arrogantly and without any sense of accountability.

That attitude has percolated down to the blue line, too, as personified by the gaggle of Sandusky's finest -- to be sure, exercising their right and duty as citizens to attend a city government meeting -- standing along the wall at last week's city commission meeting, exchanging snide asides and attracting the disapproving attention of a few members of the audience.

And any criticism of the department is met with an indignant "Why do you hate the police?" followed by the assurance that, despite the questioner's "hatred," the police will respond with alacrity to a crisis at your house, even if you don't appreciate it.

Boys, it's not about hating cops, and you know it. It's about abuse of power. And it's about recognizing the higher standard that should be observed by those in whom the people have invested power.

We as a people ask cops to do dangerous things in our name, and we want to respect them. Likewise, we want them to respect the power we give them. We want them to protect. And to serve.