Overall Thankful for Austin Police

RECEIVED Fri., Dec. 1, 2006

Dear Editor,
    Nora Ankrum's article on APD's Citizen Police Academy was a real eye-opener for me [“My Semester on the Beat,” News, Dec. 1]. Like Nora, my encounters with the police have also included a lot of handing over of licenses and insurance cards. The officers have run the gamut from very professional to asshole bullies. However, in the last few years, I have noticed a definite increase in professionalism in my encounters with the police. APD's strict recruitment policies and extensive training seem to be paying off.
    The community policing policy is a fantastic solution to crime. If the officer knows his beat, and the people in it, they are more apt to trust him and give him good information on potential or existing problems.
    I am disappointed with some of the issues with APD, such as the Daniel Rocha, Sophia King, and Jesse Lee Owens shootings. However, I realize that the officers have a tough time out there on the streets and must make split-second decisions that may result in a choice between life or death. Until I walk a mile in their shoes, I am in no position to judge how an officer reacts to mentally unstable people or threats to their own lives. I believe the Office of Police Monitor gives citizens some oversight into potential police misconduct and may separate some bad apples out of an overwhelmingly good batch of police officers.
    I also disagree with the city of Austin's use of the police department as another tax collection entity with its zealous use of speed traps and exorbitant fines. It seems to me that traffic enforcement would be better served by removing road ragers and incompetent drivers from our highways.
    Overall, however, when I read articles about the LAPD and the New York Police Department, I am thankful to live in a city under the protection of our police department.
Frank A. King
P.S. p.s. Nora, you are smokin' hot in that uniform! Talk about Dream Police!
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