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My Personal Side

By Craig Hastings
Competition for police officers is fierce!  Tuscola just lost another one of our two best patrol officers ever employed here.  Just last year we suffered the same fate with the other officer I’m speaking of.  At a time when more serious and violent crime is taking place even in our little safe haven we’ve enjoyed for as long as I’ve been alive.  We’ve been discovering more guns and more drugs in our traffic stops than we’ve ever had in my history here.  More concerning is the fact that these people don’t live here.  So why are they traveling the inner roadways of our city? I think that answer is clear.  Any community’s first line of defense to prevent these violent crimes is to aggressively but legally enforce our traffic laws.  After all, a crime can’t be committed without getting to the destination first.  This is why for my entire career as police chief here, thirty-six years, I’ve been a strong advocate of traffic law enforcement.  It’s never been about generating revenue as so many times we have been accused during our traffic stops.  We write warning/contact paper ten times more than actual citations that cost violators any out of pocket expense.  I’ve always tried to strike a balance within my staff, separating those officers that aggressively enforce traffic laws and those that are more suited to investigations and minor criminal and ordinance related infractions.  It’s worked well for me.  When these officers are doing these duties to the best of their abilities it makes us all look good.  It’s a team effort and not a competition within the ranks.

So where in lies the problem of keeping people employed here?  Like never before in the history of law enforcement has there been a shortage of young people lining up to explore careers in law enforcement.  In fact, with how society turned on law enforcement over the past three years, not many young people are willing to give this career a chance.  And I can’t blame them.  I used to go to career day speaking engagements to promote law enforcement careers to young people.  I did this because I believed in what I’m doing.  As things are in America today and how big corporate media portrays police officers as a whole, it’s difficult for me to encourage someone.

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