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Archive for Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Douglas County prosecutors to review cases involving Lawrence police involved in dismissing speeding tickets

February 21, 2012, 5:08 p.m. Updated February 21, 2012, 10:07 p.m.

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Lawrence City Hall officials on Tuesday gave Douglas County prosecutors the names of two suspended Lawrence police officers, while also confirming they’re continuing to investigate the role other officers may have played in dismissing speeding tickets in exchange for Kansas University basketball tickets.

KU Ticket Investigation

Four former Kansas Athletics employees and one current employee have been federally charged and two former employees have pleaded guilty in a scandal involving millions of dollars of stolen tickets from the university.

Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson said Tuesday afternoon Lawrence Police Chief Tarik Khatib provided him the names of the two officers who have been suspended following the ticket-fixing investigation. The names have been forwarded to Branson so he can determine if the alleged ethical violations of the officers are pertinent to other pending or past cases.

“I have an obligation to review any case that involves those officers and determine if the alleged misconduct is material to the defense in any case they are associated with or if the conduct damages that officer’s credibility,” Branson said in a statement Tuesday.

The city confirmed the investigation last week but has not released the names of the two officers, calling it a personnel matter. Branson did not release the names or ranks of the two officers Tuesday, instead referring to his written statement.

“Information that may impact the officer’s veracity, show a propensity for bias or any evidence of a crime may be required to be turned over to defense counsel,” according to the statement. “We will diligently review our files, past and current, to make sure that appropriate parties are notified.”

Also on Tuesday, Khatib and City Manager David Corliss confirmed that other officers were involved in the process of dismissing speeding tickets for an individual who had access to KU basketball tickets. The investigation has indicated those officers may have been asked by a single member of the police department to dismiss those tickets as a favor. It isn’t clear whether those other officers received KU basketball tickets in exchange for the dismissals. The city on Tuesday declined to provide an estimate of the number of other officers involved or whether other suspensions could be forthcoming.

“We have two people on suspension, and we’re still looking at the information to determine what the appropriate level of action is on the others,” Khatib said.

City officials previously have said their investigation determined that one officer largely orchestrated the ticket fixing, while the other officer on suspension had knowledge of the activity and did not step forward. But Khatib on Tuesday sought to assure residents that the misconduct was not widespread in the department.

“I don’t think the public needs to worry here that we’re talking about a ton of tickets,” Khatib said. “This is not a widespread, systemic amount of officers. I can tell you that. It is not that huge of an amount.

“It is not indicative of all of the officers. The public does not need to worry about how many officers are doing this. The vast majority of officers are doing an excellent job, and occasionally some people drop the ball. That is what we’re dealing with here. That is it.”

The city, though, has declined to release details about the number of tickets involved or the amount of time the alleged ticket fixing took place. But Corliss said he does expect to be in a position to release that information once the city has completed its investigation.

“I would hope sooner rather than later,” Corliss said of his timeline for releasing the information. “I understand the interest in this and the interest to move on.”

The two officers were suspended following an investigation by the FBI in which no criminal charges were filed. Khatib said there was an internal investigation because it appeared the city’s gratuity policy had been violated. Two officers have been placed on administrative leave.

Corliss said the person whose speeding tickets were fixed is serving time in federal prison related to a broader KU tickets scandal from 2005 to 2010 after four Kansas Athletics Inc. employees and one athletic department consultant pleaded guilty in the $2 million cash-for-tickets scam.

Khatib, who was promoted to police chief in February 2011, received an anonymous letter in May 2011 about the allegations involving the police department, and it was eventually referred to federal authorities.

The city has not provided a definitive timeline of the events involving the officers beyond saying it occurred “over several years,” and Branson said Tuesday he did not yet have an indication for how far back his office would look at cases to review to see if any involved the two officers.

Branden Bell, a defense attorney, said last week he was advising clients not to enter a plea in pending cases involving a Lawrence police officer as a witness until the officers were identified saying it created an issue about credibility because the two officers were accused of engaging in “dishonest conduct.”

Khatib and Corliss have said “several” members of the department were involved in the dismissal of tickets but contended one individual orchestrated the matter. They have also not identified the now-imprisoned individual who provided the KU basketball tickets or said how many speeding tickets were dismissed.

Mayor Aron Cromwell has said that it was Khatib’s decision but that it was likely the officer leading the activity will be removed from the department.

Comments

nangasaur 2 years, 6 months ago

Every person who has ever been convicted of, fined, or had a judgment against them for crimes charged of them by the officers involved will now be able to have those convictions overturned, fines reimbursed, and arrest records expunged.

Police officer corruption where their credibility proves to be questionable only serves to make themselves an invalid witness against the accused.

Judging from the civil suit published, one of the officers involved could potentially be one of the drug squad detectives. If that's the case...oh man, I can foresee a lot of drug convictions overturned.

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Steve Jacob 2 years, 6 months ago

I would not go that far, but the DA is in a bad spot thanks to the LPD. Now if your 5 years into a 15 year jail sentence and that cop was the main witness, he might get some deal. Like admit guilt, no lawsuit, get time served.

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nangasaur 2 years, 6 months ago

It involves The Yellow House, from November last year, claiming witness tampering under color of authority, deprivation of a citizen's rights, and conspiracy. Charges against the Neighbors' were dropped after the civil suit.

As I said, if any of the names listed there had anything to do with the recent LKPD problems (and judging by the types of charges being cited, it's quite possible), the DA has been put into a very tough corner.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/9643796/FORM-A-Notice-of-Motion-for-Guy-and-Carrie-neighbors

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lily 2 years, 6 months ago

And the civil suit was against the university not the city wasn't it? So the two aren't related.

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nangasaur 2 years, 6 months ago

One things for sure: he's extremely busy reviewing prior cases involving the officers in question to determine which ones he'll have to retry.

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OonlyBonly 2 years, 6 months ago

I have a feeling there's more than one defense attorney clamoring for those names. Fixing tickets would tend to slightly "discredit" an Officer's credibility IMHO.

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nangasaur 2 years, 6 months ago

Which is exactly what I implied by saying MANY people could have prior charges dismissed and fines reimbursed.

Any ticket ever written by the officers involved, where the only witness against the defendant was/were these particular officers, becomes null and void, as per case law and legal precedent. When officers use color of authority to break the law, they violate their code of conduct and are no longer a credible witness to the courts, past and present.

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4chewnut 2 years, 6 months ago

The city's gratuity policy may have been violated. Really?! That comment makes me very wary of the PD. Shouldn't it clearly be a more serious violation?

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doc1 2 years, 6 months ago

No State or City Laws were broken. What are you asking for?

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Sigmund 2 years, 6 months ago

Typically traffic infractions like speeding are not crimes. However, offering or receiving any bribe is a felony. Seems like ALL parties need to be named and prosecuted.

21-6001. Bribery. (a) Bribery is: (1) Offering, giving or promising to give, directly or indirectly, to any person who is a public officer, candidate for public office or public employee any benefit, reward or consideration to which the person is not legally entitled with intent thereby to influence the person with respect to the performance of the person's powers or duties as a public officer or employee; or (2) the act of a person who is a public officer, candidate for public office or public employee, in requesting, receiving or agreeing to receive, directly or indirectly, any benefit, reward or consideration given with intent that the person will be so influenced.

(b) Bribery is a severity level 7, nonperson felony. Upon conviction of bribery, a public officer or public employee shall forfeit the person's office or employment. Notwithstanding an expungement of the conviction pursuant to K.S.A. 2011 Supp. 21-6614, and amendments thereto, any person convicted of bribery under the provisions of this section shall be forever disqualified from holding public office or public employment in this state. http://kslegislature.org/li/b2011_12/statute/021_000_0000_chapter/021_060_0000_article/021_060_0001_section/021_060_0001_k/

Just another "technical" violation of the law that won't be "technically" prosecuted. If the DA prosecuted every city or county employee who technically violated the laws, there would be less time left for prosecuting civilians.

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rckchlk2131 2 years, 6 months ago

Interesting. So if a candidate for public office (or incumbent) gets campaign money from a developer and then rezones the land the said developer now gets to build on is that bribery? Or is it not reciprocal? Just trying to figure out the double-standard there.

Don't get me wrong the issue at hand needs to be investigated and definitely a "black eye" for LPD.

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Sigmund 2 years, 6 months ago

rvjayhawk (anonymous) says… "Who really thinks Branson will do anything?"

Especially if those attorney's practice criminal law in Douglas County, are democrats, and contributed to his to past campaigns or will contribute to his next election campaign?

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DillonBarnes 2 years, 6 months ago

Sounds like a textbook definition of bribery to me. People are imperfect, and that means police are imperfect. However, I judge a department's legitimacy by how the department reacts to misconduct by its officers. To me, there is a difference between a mistake made in the heat of the moment and a well thought and planned misconduct. All parties involved had plenty of time to realize what they were doing was wrong and rectify it, but they did not.

I hope one or both officers are dismissed.

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Patricia Davis 2 years, 6 months ago

I'm glad this is getting some sunlight. Something tells me gallons of bleach may be needed to disinfect the culture of entitlement at our police department. This whole business of police having "discretion" regarding tickets is a crime.

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cowboy 2 years, 6 months ago

Khatib presented himself as a professional , above board type of person. To date he has failed in the leadership position at LPD. The course is quite simple. Full disclosure , termination for ethics violations , complete sunlight on the "fixing" process. Immediate stop to any further interference in the ticket process. Had you acted last week you might have been a hero , now you are just hanging on. Do the right thing , or in cop talk , man up Khatib.

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doc1 2 years, 6 months ago

There will be website up soon with the names of the Sergeants... er Officers involved.

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Armored_One 2 years, 6 months ago

In your opinion.

Coming from someone that pounds their proverbial pulpit that every LPD officer is corrupt, in one way or another, over the Yellow House nonsense, I doubt your opinion can be given much credence.

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Armored_One 2 years, 6 months ago

And exactly what steps have you taken to correct this inappropriate behavior by the LPD?

Have you filed court cases? Filed grievances with the KBI over allegations of corruption?

Have you done a damned thing other than whine and cry and demand someone else do something about it? All anyone has seen is you whine and pout and stomp your feet. That's about the same thing my youngest does when she doesn't get her way over something.

How about you get up off your lazy tail and try to actually do something about it? I'd ask you to show some sort of proof that you have tried, but since no one knows your name, you could claim any case or legal paperwork with a name on it to be yours. Frankly, I don't trust you to not lie about it.

You are on a vendetta, pure and simple. I can't remember the whole line, but I know it has something to do with torpedoes.

And yes, that is sarcastic. The not remembering part. You being on a vendetta I'm deathly serious about. Well, that and you being a spoiled little brat with nothing better to do with your time than harass police officers, 99% of whom you have probably never met once in your miserable little life.

But the corruption is just SO widespread.

To quote an Aerosmith album title: Get a Grip!

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Armored_One 2 years, 6 months ago

Stepping on what? The carpet on teh floor in front of your computer? As best as anyone can tell, that seems to be all you are accomplishing.

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DillonBarnes 2 years, 6 months ago

I read smitty's comments and agreed....

I don't know how to feel.

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ktbob1954 2 years, 6 months ago

Smitty, maybe I need to hire YOU to find out WHO killed my father back in 1977...since all the LPD files seem to be "lost".....??? Hmmmmm. My entire faith in the LPD now rests on TWO officers who have sworn to me to diligently find answers....nothing yet!

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Food_for_Thought 2 years, 6 months ago

It's funny...everyone is making a big deal about LPD referring to this incident as a "violation of department policy" and ignoring the "criminal" aspect of this issue.

NEWS FLASH: POLICE AGENCIES DO NOT CHARGE FOR CRIMES. POLICE AGENCIES REPORT/REFER INCIDENTS TO THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE FOR REVIEW OF POSSIBLE CRIMINAL CHARGES TO BE FILED.

As far as Chief Khatib and the LPD administration is concerned, they only have say / control of department policy and can only act on policy violation, NOT criminal charges. This is WHY it is being referred to Charles Branson. If charges aren't filed, you can cry to the DA's Office, not LPD. If LPD never referred the incident to the DA's Office, THEN you could blame LPD.

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rockchalker52 2 years, 6 months ago

Not exactly on topic here, but there's a point to these speeding tickets. Over the past 16 years, I've been cited twice for speeding. Once was on 27th near Barbasol Ct. or whateverthehell. The other was on 1057 out by the driving range. The deputy was a #$^$*&&?!! on that one. But ya know what, I've never sped at either location ever since. Ya don't hafta draw me a picture. I can take a hint.
Oh, yeah, everybody sucks in this story. I yam disappoint.

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Sigmund 2 years, 6 months ago

Food_for_Thought (anonymous) says… "It's funny...everyone is making a big deal about LPD referring to this incident as a "violation of department policy" and ignoring the "criminal" aspect of this issue."

Ever read a police report? In them police officers clearly state what laws they believe, based on their training, experience, and investigation were broken. This includes collecting evidence, obtaining statements and confessions, and stating what they believe are any aggravating factors. If they did not list bribery as a possible charge in their reports just what would you call it, an oversight?

Sure it is is up to the DA to file formal charges, but police regularly state in police reports what crimes they think are supported by their investigation, but somehow "bribery" just never came to mind? Go figure.

In any case, if the police investigated and the DA prosecuted, every city employee who had grease on their palms who was found next to a wheeler dealer campaign contributor with a oil can in their hand using it to lubricate the local government machinery, there would be a lot less resources to prosecute us civilians and they just can't have that.

Much like the case of our former mayor, this obvious felony will be deemed by the DA to be a "technical" violation that will never be "technically" prosecuted unless some outside entity like a state or federal AG gets involved. You can't fight city hall if the local police and DA just aren't interested in crimes committed by those who they pass in the halls, share office space with, or see at campaign fundraisers. Just wouldn't be neighborly.

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dozer 2 years, 6 months ago

Prosecutors are not limited to the crimes a police officer lists in a Standard Offense Report. Charging decisions are solely the responsibility of a prosecutor, not a cop.

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pace 2 years, 6 months ago

I hope it was just speeding tickets. That is pretty bad. I am glad this has been brought to light and not covered up. I wonder if consideration of the anonymous person might send a letter to someone else was a motivating factor in disclosure. I hope not. My thanks to that person. I am glad it was not handled as just a inside personnel matter.

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Sigmund 2 years, 6 months ago

cheeseburger (anonymous) says… "Any guesses as to where the anonymous letter originated? My money is on Laura Routh."

I'll take that bet. Routh has never done anything anonymous, nope she would have held a news conference and written two letters to the editor.

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Amy Heeter 2 years, 6 months ago

Now that thar is some funny stuff.

But seriously, I would like to see some real justice in this town.

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LeRoyMercer 2 years, 6 months ago

If the PD is really interested in stopping the officers who line up for gratuities they should also start looking (wink wink) at some of the bars in town. The constant line of off duty officers who recieve free drinks and other "gratuities" at a number of establishments in town should be common knowledge to the department. Let's see if that happens.

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Crazy_Larry 2 years, 6 months ago

If you or I had done this we'd be facing at least two charges:

K.S.A. 21-3901 Bribery. Bribery is: (a) Offering, giving or promising to give, directly or indirectly, to any person who is a public officer, candidate for public office or public employee any benefit, reward or consideration to which the person is not legally entitled with intent thereby to influence the person with respect to the performance of the person's powers or duties as a public officer or employee; or (b) the act of a person who is a public officer, candidate for public office or public employee, in requesting, receiving or agreeing to receive, directly or indirectly, any benefit, reward or consideration given with intent that the person will be so influenced.

Bribery is a severity level 7, nonperson felony. Upon conviction of bribery, a public officer or public employee shall forfeit the person's office or employment. Notwithstanding an expungement of the conviction pursuant to K.S.A. 21-4619, and amendments thereto, any person convicted of bribery under the provisions of this section shall be forever disqualified from holding public office or public employment in this state.

A speeding ticket is a court summons and a public record, eh?

K.S.A. 21-3821: Tampering with a public record. (a) Tampering with a public record is knowingly and without lawful authority altering, destroying, defacing, removing or concealing any public record. (b) Tampering with a public record is a class A nonperson misdemeanor.

Transparency and accountability are what we need from our "leaders". Not a bunch of 1984 double-speak. Paid administrative leave is an incentive program. Tired of the B.S.

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Food_for_Thought 2 years, 6 months ago

You're being ridiculous. LPD is not a rumor mill. Until an accusation is adequately and thoroughly investigated, it should not be publicly released, because the general public lacks necessary facts and details of the issue, and everyone suddenly jumps to conclusions and it spirals out of control. Honestly, I'd say LPD probably released this information too early, because people here are already jumping to conclusions with what has been released so far.

Oh, and no, despite Smitty's overzealous push for a "citizen review board", such an idea would not have prevented, stopped, or discovered this issue any sooner than LPD. Remember, this had been going on for years before the LPD administration had caught wind of it. If LPD is so "secret" in their goings-on, what makes you think that they couldn't withhold an incident like this until the internal investigation's completed? If they were to, and the CRB found out, what are they going to do? Fire the whole police department? Get real.

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Crazy_Larry 2 years, 6 months ago

Nine months and they still don't know the details of what happened and who all was involved? What exactly did the FBI do while they were in Lawrence "investigating"?

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Maracas 2 years, 6 months ago

Remember, it's wasn't a bribe. It was a "gratuity". LOL Our city officials and LPD administrators are hilarious. And they worry about credibility. LOL And good for Bell advising his clients not to plead to any cases involving Lawrence police officers. It appears several may be corrupt . . . er . . . negligent in accepting "gratuities".

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Crazy_Larry 2 years, 6 months ago

No, they are not hilarious. They're figgin' psychopaths who don't know right from wrong... Oh never mind, hold my beer and watch this...GO KU!

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Slowponder 2 years, 6 months ago

I feel so much better now the hangin'-by-a-thread Chief has declared that not all officers were involved. Now when an officer approaches me, do I offer him tickets, coupons, sparkly things because I don't know which ones are interested in violating the City policy against accepting a gratuity. Hangin'-by-thread has made it confusing in the field of bribery. We just don't know who to bribe. Branson is burning the late-night oil and defense attorneys have a new mandatory question: Disclose every time the arresting officer was approached with a gratuity in violation of the City policy. What a mess. . . . .

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nativeson 2 years, 6 months ago

“It is not indicative of all of the officers. The public does not need to worry about how many officers are doing this. The vast majority of officers are doing an excellent job, and occasionally some people drop the ball. That is what we’re dealing with here. That is it.”

This quote by Chief Khatib is the issue. The quicker this investigation is fully vetted by someone outside the police department and the City, the better. I respect the need for privacy, but this goes to the credibility of the police department and its ability to monitor its own activites.

In the end, it has less to do with the offense, and more to do with the trust between the public and the department. Unfortunately, Chief Khatib's quote seems hollow since we have no idea of the size of the problem. It is hard to imagine that this stops with two individuals given the close-knit nature of the department.

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somedude20 2 years, 6 months ago

Shady! The Police and Feds can get access to what type of underwear you like and listen to you whisper sweet nothings to old Mary Jane Rottencrotch but we can not be told who, how many tickets, ect.

If Chief Kabob wanted to set a new tone in this town, he ain't doing it!

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fudgystuff 2 years, 6 months ago

Hope the two officers are on unpaid leave and will eventually be fired. I think Khatib needs to go. He is probably on the take also, we just don't know it. Do we NOT have any law abiding officers anymore? I believe that if you have a boss or supervisor that does not lead by example and basically shows that anything goes then his team or employees will do the same. Khatib is not a good role model and we need to vote him OUT...

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equalaccessprivacy 2 years, 6 months ago

The DAs, cops, KU authorities, etc. are all enmeshed in a crooked, conflict-of-interest racket. Lawrence is run by crooks.

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Jayhawk_4_Life 2 years, 6 months ago

how do they not release the names? if i were to go rob a kwik shop then get arrested my name would be printed in the paper...such BS

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samsnewplace 2 years, 6 months ago

smitty, please go start your own Facebook page and rant and rave there. I am sure you will have a following, but I will not be one of them. Enough about YH and KU already, stay on topic please and stop dragging up old news!

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shadowlady 2 years, 6 months ago

Then why don't you go to Facebook, if you don't like what's being written?? In other words take your own advice. Smitty has just as much right on here as you.

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psheaf2 2 years, 6 months ago

It seems so easy to pass judgement on others. For those who have been stopped for a speeding ticket and have been given a warning and been thankful for it, truth is, u broke the law and got away with it. In that circumstance, we seem to be grateful. For any of u that have ever taken even the smallest of things from your place of employment, woops! Everyone needs to take a look and make sure your own backyards are in perfect order before throwing stones. Though most of you seem to lack any respect for our police department, please remember these are the same men and women that have come to our rescue and are there to respond to our 911 calls in our emergencies. Have you ever needed their help?~I'm certain you'll appreciate them then!

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fudgystuff 2 years, 6 months ago

Cops do NOT respond to emergencies the EMT's do. Cops show up at wrecks but do nothing more than write the report & measure the distances. Cops barely stop to help people with a flat tire anymore...Lets not give them too much credit, yes some of them are nice & honest but apparently more of them take bribes or we wouldn't be discussing this. Once they are involved in dishonest behavior they need to lose their job & not be allowed in law enforcement again. Just my opinion though....

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