Letter: Police shouldn’t lose community respect | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Police shouldn’t lose community respect

Police shouldn’t lose community respect

To start, I am coming from a biased life. I am the son of a cop. If you were part of the Basalt or Eagle County communities a few years back, you know of him, and hopefully know of the good things he did for the community. That being said, maybe my thoughts are out of place.

Being raised by a cop, I learned a respect for law enforcement more than most. Police are people too — they hit the snooze button just like you and I do. They don’t wake up thinking of ways to ruin everyone else’s day. My thoughts on law enforcement: “Respect the badge. You can only judge the person behind it.”

So a few years ago in my stupidity, I got arrested. I knew the cop who put the handcuffs on me. I would consider him a friend, even played racquetball with him and my old man. I was underage, had too many noise complaints and the cops came. They saw the beer through the front window, so they had just cause to investigate. The officer questioned me a bit, told me to sit down and stay put, so what did I do? I sat down.

Note I didn’t get thrown to the ground, I wasn’t handcuffed or restrained in any way. What good would it do? If I decided to mouth off, kick, scream, cry or run away, I wasn’t going to win against a cop. I cooperated with the law. I knew I was finally busted for doing something wrong. My stupid luck ran out, so why should I make that cop’s night as crappy as mine by resisting? Would it make everything OK? Would the heavens open and absolve me of my crime? No, it would tack on a few more charges. That’s all.

Respect, cooperation and not being a jerk goes a long way. A 16-year-old smoking pot is not the worst thing to happen in Aspen, right? But at what point did a cop lose the community’s support to interact with its residents? Just making a presence goes a long way. So the cop went to find out what a kid was doing — even if the kid was just picking his nose — is a cop not allowed to just say “Hey, what are you up to? Just making sure you’re not smoking pot next to an elementary school at a public bus stop.”

Police can prevent crime sometimes by just making an appearance; just by making themselves known. If you are not doing anything wrong, what do you have to worry about? If you are doing something wrong and you get caught, make it easier on yourself and just do what they ask, because that request to sit down becomes a demand only if you choose to fight it.

Chris Everding

Wasilla, Alaska

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