Letters to the Editor

Police efficiency

May 18, 2010


To the editor:

While respecting our police and sheriff’s officers whose jobs present myriad challenges in working with unhappy, difficult or just downright mean people, I think an opportunity is being missed. While going in and out of LINK one day, I chatted with a genial, older man of color, who was sitting patiently for lunch. As I left, a young Lawrence police officer arrived, stalked up, crisply dressed, aggressive and loaded with tools of authority. Without introduction or pleasantry common to this region he demanded information from the older man, received only a quiet answer and marched off, spine straight, radiating authority.

The young policeman was properly within the rules, but all I could think was that a huge opportunity had been missed. How much more efficient this bit of police work could have been if the officer and the LINK guest knew and respected each other. How helpful it would be if the police and the sheriff could send their staff to eat and chat with the LINK and shelter clients, getting to understand them.

LINK and community shelter clients are probably more likely than the majority of the comfortable population in this city and county to suffer violence. Many are very vulnerable due to disability or age. “Wasting” a few officers’ time to learn to communicate with LINK and shelter clients probably would be an extremely efficient use of resources.


workerman 7 years, 10 months ago

Prepare to be attacked for criticizing the police force. What, you don't like the new breed of police officer? The days of Rex Johnson are over. We've had so many terrorist attacks here in the midwest officers have to be hostile and suspicious all the time. Try asking one for directions and see what "kind" reaction you get. Connecting with the public? Lol, they'll connect allright, with compression to your torso! Ask the guy running the hotdog cart downtown how many times the beat officers have stopped to talk to him in the last five years, wait, it's zero. Gee, why IS there a chasm between the public and law enforcement? Ask the guy at the Goodyear plant. Wait, no, they killed him.

BrianR 7 years, 10 months ago

Way to make stuff up on the fly. I was at the hot dog cart a few weeks ago and there were two officers there sitting/leaning on the bench chatting it up in a very familiar tone. Maybe you want to revise your math.

avoice 7 years, 10 months ago

The point is that you observed two officers chatting it up with each other. They are only friendly to their own because they think everyone else is potentially their enemy. It's sad that our police have become like military in a war zone. And it's a war zone of their own mindset, not a real war zone. The actual percentage of dangerous people has not changed, but because there are just more people all the way around, it seems like the criminals are everywhere.

BrianR 7 years, 10 months ago

No, the point is, they were chatting and laughing with Craig. The officers I've had contact with in Lawrence have been none of the things you describe but, in fact, were professional and helpful. War zone!? Where the hell do you live, Tikrit?

lgreen17 7 years, 10 months ago

Craig is white, middle class, has a job, and is not homeless or old. That's the difference between buying a hot dog from a disabled vendor on the street, and sitting down to lunch with homeless people in a church.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 10 months ago

Waiting for the usual suspects to show up on this thread......

somebodynew 7 years, 10 months ago

Well OK, Snap_, here is suspect #1. While the letter writer has good intentions and I would not attack them for their thoughts, keep in mind some of the people who eat at LINK are the same people who "live" across the street. It is entirely possibile this officer already had "chatted" with this gentleman several times in the past and the two are well acquainted.

And I agree with BrianR - I often see officers who are on foot patrol stopping and talking to vendors, sales staff, and just citizens. Not all officers are cut from the same cloth and some (the smart ones)enjoy doing things like that. Some of the young ones though, just haven't gotten it yet.

Kendall Simmons 7 years, 10 months ago

Without telling us what was said, Ms. Robins description of the conversation is meaningless. Frankly, the way she described it, it sounded to me like the cop already knew the "genial older man" and was not as kindly disposed to him as Ms. Robins...who doesn't know him at all. After all, I see the cops outside LINK and the shelter talking to people there all the time.

independant1 7 years, 10 months ago

Need new bonifide occupational qualification for police. BA in psychology.

Nice day huh? Your DL, proof in Ins., registration please how do you feel about that?

somedude20 7 years, 10 months ago

I can't believe they gave up that wonderful opportunity to use their tasers on someone.

StephHawk 7 years, 10 months ago

LG40, As a business owner of Kwality Comics, 1111 Massachusetts, how often have you personally spoken with a LPD officer? Have you ever attended one of their citizen academies or actually taken the time to ride along with an officer on his/her shift? Just curious how you and Smitty (aka Laura Roth) have developed such a hatred for our law enforcement and what steps have you taken to improve the relationship?

ferrislives 7 years, 10 months ago

This idea has already been covered by several on here, but Ms. Robins seems pretty niave to suggest that the two didn't know each other. If she had any idea how many times the LPD and Sheriff's office had to deal with these same people on a daily basis, then she'd think differently. If I was a member of their staff, I'd be frustrated with them as well. All you have to do is to check the Sheriff's web site to see how many "transients" are logged in on a daily basis to see this, and it's not all petty crap.

My personal experience with the LPD (not the Sheriff) hasn't been that great when it comes to customer service. A lot of them come across as arrogant and non-caring of Lawrence citizens, which doesn't make our city look good to its citizens and its visitors either. I wish that their chief would focus more on this with his staff, because it's obviously a big problem within his department.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 7 years, 10 months ago

When first being alone, after the academy, and riding along with a training officer, most every new officer is gung ho to right every wrong. They want to arrest every criminal, and solve all of society's problems. Fortunately most of them learn in a short period of time that you get more flies with honey, than with vinegar. They learn that to save themselves a lot of headaches and work by developing good people skills. It worked for me for 30 years. When you are in trouble, the people you interacted with and treated fairly will come to your aid. Think about it. It costs nothing to be nice to people, and the rewards are not only tremendous, but can save your life.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 10 months ago

As a genial carbon-based mammalian biped of color, I've never had a problem with the LPD.

Mark Thompson 7 years, 10 months ago

What is LawrenceGuy doing that he has seen "hundreds" of instances of LPD being petty, rude, ...?

bearded_gnome 7 years, 10 months ago

"man of color" tells us more about Cathy the LTE writer than about the homeless guy who likely is a lifestyle bum.

first, Cathy feels perfectly free to judge and down the officer without knowing what came before. for all she knows, LPD might've been on the lookout for a suspect who resembled the bum she was enabling. maybe the suspect [not necessarily the bum] was wanted for a violent crime and it was a matter of public safety.

second, she presumes that the officer and the "man of color" [whatever that means since I'm a man of color too, mine just happens to be lighter than the melanin-enhanced] had had no previous interaction. as noted above, lpd officers have a lot of contact with the homeless, particularly with the irresponsible lifestyle bums.

third, Cathy is part of the problem: those handouts attract lifestyle bums to our community who have no history or connection to Lawrence.

fourth, does Cathy even know that crime is concentrated among the homeless? this applies especially to the lifestyle bums. and the open druggie drunk shelter downtown would have been shut down years ago if it were a house, shut down as a nuisance house!

fifth, does she think that with her letter she is actually helping the plight of the bum she enabled? or does she haughtily think she's helping lpd? many of the loons on the left grant themselves moral superiority, especially when they're oh so compassionate with other people's money.

sixth, she thinks she knows police procedure better than the officer? I don't actually see anything to complain about in her description of the interaction.

bearded_gnome 7 years, 10 months ago

with the attitude problem that LG40 displays on these threads every time I'm not surprised he thinks lpd is rude to him: they're probably just responding to his surly, hostile, paranoid delusions the best they can.
indeed, "hundreds of times?" tells us about LG40, doesn't it. suppose he seeks out police interactions?

KULHSLIONSfan 7 years, 10 months ago

Good comments gnome.

LG40 is developing quite the reputation. Poor guy, makes you feel a little (very little) sorry for how miserable his life must be with all the negative energy.

KULHSLIONSfan 7 years, 10 months ago

I also meant to comment, I feel many do not realize how fortunate we are in Lawrence for the law enforcement we do have and the challenges they face every day. Yes, I agree some have ego's, but they are they when you need them. Any contact and communication I have had with local enforcement has always been first class with mutual respect and understanding. Maybe those with problems with law enforcement need to look in the mirror.

They would probably even come to the aid of LG40.

I do think Ms. Robins presents an interesting idea for interaction in LINK.

Jennifer Dropkin 7 years, 10 months ago

When I lived downtown, I called the Lawrence police several times, and like any group, they are a mixed bag. Some do their job well, others don't. Some are attentive and listen, others don't pay attention and don't listen.

Ms. Robins described a lack of human connection, and I think her idea is a good one. The police officers who get to know the people they serve and protect--even the troubled ones--get to be good at their job. Polite interaction makes communication possible.

I wonder what the turnover in the police department is. If turnover is high, then community relations is little better than a PR stunt. We need to get to know our police officers, and they need to get to know us.

By the way, the KU Safety Officers? Uniformly unfriendly--like it's a rule they're taught at KU Safety School. In my experience, Lawrence PD is doing better than that.

Fatty_McButterpants 7 years, 10 months ago

Yes, that's a brilliant idea. Let's require the police - who are already undermanned in this town (mostly b/c the lovely people of Lawrence call them over ridiculous stuff; for example, the woman who wanted to press theft charges against a dog that ate her cheeseburger) - go and have lunch/dinner with the people they arrest most often.

Being a cop is a horrible job. Why? Because EVERYONE thinks they know how to do your job better than you do; everything you do is recorded on video and instantly scrutinized by every idiot who has never been on the job; and, you get serenaded by the public with lovely comments such as "f#@k the police!" as you drive through neighborhoods. I'd love to follow some of you people to your work and shout obscenities at you, videotape your every move, watch you deal with belligerent people all day long, and see how you deal with it.

whats_going_on 7 years, 10 months ago

don't let that chip on your shoulder get TOO big, now.

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