A link I forgot to post yesterday, from Tuesday’s Free Press (and I apologize in advance for the auto-playing video piece): A story about what can happen when one — just one — bad cop gets the right job. It starts with an anecdote about a regular guy who gets the crap beaten out of him by three cops for “resisting arrest” after being caught urinating in the parking lot of his own small-town bar. And gets, in time, to the nut graf:
(Police chief Victor) Pierce’s critics say there have been other examples of aggressive policing lately, and question why Pierce needs nearly three dozen, non-certified reserve officers to protect a population of 3,900 with the most serious crimes generally theft and burglary.
The department also has two Humvees and two armored personnel carriers received free of charge from the U.S. Department of Defense for a township with only four full-time officers.
This — the militarization of ordinary police — has been a national story, and the Freep found the perfect local example, with the added fillip of a chief who has been… well, let him tell you:
Pierce, 56, a former Battle Creek police sergeant, recently told the township board, “I have preached a vision and the Lord put me here for a reason.”
I think I’ve mentioned before that my own peaceful, leafy city also got an armored personnel carrier recently, for the low low cost of Free, thanks to Uncle Sam. It rankles me just the same. Police work is best done in one-to-one face time with residents, by learning neighborhoods and the people who live there, not by driving a goddamn tank. And why is this chief so dedicated to flood-the-zone policing? Guess:
“So the numbers seem high but shortly after Sandy Hook (school shooting), I said that was the straw that broke the camel’s back … I don’t want all these things to happen, but shame on me if something did.”
You think living in fear is just a problem for those who do. It’s a problem for everybody.
A follow-up story suggests things may have gone too far; the chief is facing a job review, but I bet he keeps his job. And his armored vehicles. Because Sandy Hook, and terrorism.
So, then. How was y’all’s Tuesday? It rained here, and even though it wasn’t very hot, I left the air-conditioning on so I wouldn’t have to touch the woodwork and find it sticky. Slept in and didn’t swim due to some wee-hours insomnia, which has been creeping back into my life after a nice stretch without it. I’ll have to figure out what was working then that isn’t now. Probably clean living. So what did I do today? Ate a bunch of nacho cheese Doritos, which I don’t even like that much, except when I do, and today I did. I still feel sick.
We have a couple of good Bridge pieces today, underlining something I’ve always believed: There’s no squalor like rural squalor. I was up in Lake County last year to report on Idlewild, and came across a woman running a free clothing store out of a shell of an old house. Guess one of her reasons for opening it: To keep people from dumping their old clothes in the woods. Lake County encompasses vast tracts of national forest, and getting your trash hauled costs money. It’s a pretty poor place. Much of northern Michigan is pretty poor, too.
But I am rich in so many things, including you guys. So have a great Wednesday, muggy and hot or dry and cool as yours may be.