Archive for Thursday, May 18, 2006

Chief has done impressive work

May 18, 2006

I am writing in response to the letter to the editor "Police Unresponsive," in the May 11 issue of The Eudora News. I was truly outraged and offended when I read it.

I understand the author of the letter may feel anger and frustration at being the victim of a crime that has gone unresolved or did not have the outcome he would have preferred. As, I am sure, many other crime victims across the country feel when this has happened. However, I feel that a public, personal attack on the chief of police is completely inappropriate.

I obviously do not know the facts and circumstances surrounding the crime mentioned in last week's letter to the editor. However, I know of no police department that makes the decision to press charges. I believe that is the job of the district attorney. The police department's job is to investigate the crime, collect evidence, statements, etc. and turn it over to the district attorney.

If the author of last week's letter felt the Eudora Police Department setting speed traps in the morning when our children are walking to school and stopping DUI offenders before they injure or kill someone are egregious acts, then he is sadly mistaken.

As a person who has lost a member of her family to a drunk driver and watched the devastation to my family, I am very thankful that we have a police department that takes an active approach in assisting to prevent this from happening to another family.

The Eudora Police Department, under the leadership of our current chief, has had impressive results. Our police department has made three major drug busts in the last 12 months. One of which resulted in the arrest and apprehension of one of Kansas' Most Wanted and another resulting in dangerous, illegal weapons being confiscated and taken off the streets. Those are remarkable achievements for a department of only nine full-time officers and four part-time officers.

Given the results of this department, I would have to wholeheartedly disagree that it is "time to save money by eliminating some officers." And with the experience the chief has, it would be a great disservice to our community and our police department to "put him back in a patrol car."

Even though our community seems relatively quiet and safe (thanks to the EPD), every time one of our officers -- including our chief -- puts on their uniform and badge, they put their safety and well being on the line for our community and its citizens. That, if nothing else, deserves our respect and support.

The chief of police accepted this position and its challenges three years ago as our community was growing exponentially. I feel the chief has done an excellent job of helping our police department grow with the needs of our community. He has a vested interest in our community and the safety of our citizens.

Although the chief is my friend and neighbor, I was impressed by his dedication to his job long before I knew him on a personal level. I always saw him checking in with the crossing guards early in the morning and watching over our children at the bus stop at the Community Learning Center. Now that I live by him, I notice his police car is gone when I get up to get ready for work in the morning and many times he is still at work when I get home in the evening. I am even more impressed now by his dedication. He is certainly more than "window-dressing!"

I would certainly hope that before a citizen in our community decided to publicly scathe our police department and our chief that he would exhaust every appropriate avenue presented to him. However, from the letter I can only assume that the author did not go through appropriate channels first. Otherwise, he would know what the chief does and what his superiors expect of him.

To our police department, I would like to say thank you for all you do to keep our community safe.

To the author of last week's letter to the editor, I would like to ask that in the future, he not use a public forum to launch a personal attack on the integrity and character of our police department and our chief of police.

To the newspaper, I am disappointed that such a letter was published when it was obviously a personal attack on a member of our community.

Aletia Vaughn


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