Sunday, October 18, 2009

Small Town Law Enforcement

Living in a rural village is not like living in a city. I’ve often commented that the bad thing about living in a small town is that everyone knows your business, but the good thing about living in a small town is that everyone knows your business. You sacrifice your anonymity, but that’s not a bad thing. You become accountable to others, but you know that your neighbor’s got your back.

The lack of anonymity transfers in unusual ways to law enforcement practices. We appreciate the efforts of our police officers, even if outsiders might sometimes consider them extreme. Our officers don’t typically sit idly in their patrol cars – they drive the streets and, you know, patrol. In doing so, they become familiar with the territory. If they spot an unfamiliar vehicle, it’s not unusual for them to run the tags as a precaution.

And if you’re passing through town, you might want to drive very carefully.

Our Knights of Columbus field agent shared with us a story about an encounter with our local cops. He was driving through town, and got pulled over. The officer told him that he (our agent) had Montgomery County tags, and he (the officer) had been looking for an excuse to pull him over and check him out. When our agent failed to use his turn signal, the officer had his excuse. For those unfamiliar with our local geography, we are located three counties away from Montgomery County, home of the big bad city of Dayton, Ohio. Our agent, after having his driver’s license run through the system, was sent on his way with a warning.

Some people might consider this harassment. However, those of us who our men in blue have sworn to serve and protect, can draw no small measure of comfort from their vigilance.

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