Judge police fairly

Published: Friday, January 27, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 26, 2006 at 11:20 p.m.
The tragic death of the middle school student as a result of his bringing a gun to school results in James Moore (Voice, Jan. 19) going on a rant about "uniformed municipal gangs." While actions of law enforcement, especially when they involve deadly force, should be scrutinized and critiqued, its better done using facts rather than stereotyping.
Moore claims that the only police response to any situation is to push their authority. Really? I guess the problem-solving sessions I've attended with neighborhood groups, the mediation of disputes, the warnings given for traffic violations, the crime prevention programs, the Reichert House program, etc. are all just figments of my imagination.
Moore recommends that an alternative response be developed for dealing with persons who are ill, troubled, or young. Both the Alachua County Sheriff's Office and the Gainesville Police Department have trained personnel to deal with those individuals. It is also part of the 760 hours of training of all law enforcement as part of the Police Academy curriculum.
Moore says that police should not be allowed to become a paramilitary force. In the history of policing, it has always been a paramilitary organization. With the advent of community-oriented policing, authority has become much more decentralized, being placed in the realm of the street officer and the neighborhood he/she patrols.
Moore says that police should be taught methods other than maiming and killing. Police officers are never taught to maim, and the use of deadly force is strictly regulated both by law and practice. It is considered a last resort to protect life.
Moore's painting of law enforcement as untrained and uncaring gang members is extremely inaccurate and irresponsible. I support his right to make comments, but he should do some research to make sure they are accurate.
Pete Backhaus, Gainesville

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