2012-02-23 / Letters to the Editor

Police on our bay takes away from our rights

I feel that the controversy regarding the police department on the bay is a good opportunity to have a town-wide discussion regarding our police department. In my opinion, the police have been quite overzealous in handing out speeding tickets and Breathalyzer and field sobriety tests to our residents.

The police have shown no moderation on land regarding how they treat our residents, so why would they on the bay? They have an established track record of being overly aggressive and heavy-handed to our residents that speaks louder than words. Will you give the police the benefit of the doubt that they will be moderate and reasonable on the bay?

I can envision our police going overboard

– no pun intended – and pulling over every day sailor out there on the bay, mandating Breathalyzer and field sobriety tests. I think that they have ruined the ambiance of being on land, now they are going to hassle us out on the bay too?

Any law enforcement has to be a tradeoff between public safety and personal freedom. You could have a roadblock on the two main roads in Jamestown every night and you could arrest a lot more people for DUI. That would make the roads “safer,” but at what cost? Most rational people realize that you can’t sacrifice all your personal freedoms that America was founded on in order to be safer. Also, I feel that we should make it clear to the police that we are against putting an officer in the schools.

Is there a lot of crime going on in the Jamestown Harbor? Is does not seem to be a high crime area. Why exactly are the police needed on the bay? Can’t the U.S. Coast Guard handle those problems? They seem perfectly capable.

It seems that in Jamestown the tail is wagging the dog in terms of the police department. Let us remember that the police are our employees. We should control the police, not have the police control us. I feel that as a town we have sat idly by on our hands, saying nothing while our rights and freedoms here in beautiful Jamestown are being gradually chipped away by our heavy-handed police department, with no public outcry. Is every one intimidated by our police and afraid to speak out? Perhaps.

If we never stand up for our rights, at some point, we won’t have any. Now is the time for our residents to stand up and be counted. If you are against this expansion of police control, tell our Town Council members, our Harbor Commission members and our harbormaster that you are against police on our bay.

James A. Thompson
North Main Road

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