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Police officers have some leeway, and my respect
I have to respond to a letter to the editor ("Police need to follow the law", Auburn Reporter, Jan. 3). Yes, police officers do need to follow the law and often most of them do – on and off duty.
For the most part, most officers are good, law-abiding citizens. That's why they have the jobs they do. Like any profession, however, I'm sure there are probably a few "bad apples" who give the whole barrel a bad name.
Do you know a police officer? Have you met a police officer (in a non-infraction committing manner)? Have you participated in a ride-along? Have you joined the Auburn Police Department Citizens Academy? If you answer no to any of these questions, I urge you to do one, if not all, before casting stones.
If you do witness a law enforcement officer or official committing a crime or infraction, I'm sure their supervisor would be happy to address your concerns.
Sure, you may happily sip your coffee every day while driving without incident. You may even smoke while driving. Both are very dangerous. Guess what? An 18-year-old crashed into a building in Sumner because he spilled his hot coffee while driving.
How about the driver who innocently changed a radio station and hit a boy? The boy lived but he suffered brain damage and never walked again. Or what about the lady who was "distracted" and drove her vehicle into a marked police vehicle?
Officers go through hours of training, including driving. They have to multi-task – it's part of the job.
You say officers have no reason to speed. Perhaps they have a partner in trouble. Maybe they are responding as backup. They must move quickly to respond to a domestic violence situation, an assault, or another serious crime taking place.
You also reference that police officers don't use traffic signals when making lane changes. You're right – they are exempt, if you will, as are firefighters and medics who are probably on their way to help or save someone. They could even be on their way to help someone you know or love. Why? It's their job.
Officers also work crappy hours, sometimes for days at a time. They miss holidays with their families. They miss school and sporting events. Some may even miss the births of children. Why? It's their jobs, and that's what they do – even for people like you.
I have lived in Auburn all of my life, and I have never heard of this "negative history" that you speak of with the Auburn Police Department or years of "harassing people in public."
Next time you see an officer "disobeying" (the law), stop and think about what you don't know and what they could or might be doing. Wave with all five fingers, say thanks or just go about your day. Have some respect. Not everyone can or will do the job they do. I thank those who do.
– Sue Addison