Cumberland Times-News

Editorials

January 16, 2014

A potential for violence, but nothing was done

I was born and raised in Frostburg and spent most of my adult life until 2004 in Cumberland.

To say those were “simpler” times is an understatement, but for the most part I felt secure walking in downtown Cumberland. Times have changed and apparently the culture in Cumberland has. With easy access to drugs and weapons, violent behavior has become more prevalent.

As a law-abiding citizen, I would think the Cumberland Police Department would be inclined to reduce the drug and weapon related incidents within their jurisdiction.

However, a situation on Jan. 12, leads me to believe otherwise. I am shocked at the actions or lack of action of two police officers.

My daughter works at a business near downtown Cumberland. She was alone there after opening at noon. A man entered with a belligerent attitude and demanded she call the police because he “had just gotten thrown out of (a nearby store) and he needed an escort.”

He also advised her to “call an ambulance because I’m packing heavy.” He reached for his backpack. She immediately called 911 and within a short time two city policemen arrived.

One escorted the man outside while the other spoke to my daughter to get her “version.” She told him what happened, including the man’s remarks about calling the ambulance because he was packing and insinuating that someone was going to get hurt.

After she gave her account, the officer joined the other men outside. My daughter watched as they continued to talk to the man and then to her dismay, both officers got back in their squad cars and drove off, leaving the man standing there.

Granted, I am not now, nor have I ever been a student of the law and I do not advocate the police taking advantage of their power to stomp our civil liberties, but really?

A young woman alone in a business establishment, a man comes in and says he was thrown out of another business, and that she should call the police and an ambulance because he “is packing heavy,” and the police don’t even check him for weapons?

They don’t tell my daughter what they are going to do, they don’t take him to the other business to find out why he was asked to leave, they just drive away leaving him standing on the sidewalk.

OK, so he didn’t “break any laws,” but the fact that he came into my daughter’s place of employment and made the demands and announced he had weapons would indicate to me that his mental state was questionable.

The fact remains that there was a potential for violence and the police did nothing.

The least they could have done was to tell the man to move on and then sit there and wait for him to go.

It also would have been greatly appreciated by my daughter (and those of us who love her) if they had come back in and talked to her to let her know what was going on.

Instead, she worked the next six hours with a can of mace under the counter, worried for her safety. I will be penning another letter to her employer to voice my shock and dissatisfaction that she was even scheduled in there alone in the first place.

As a previous manager of several businesses in the Cumberland/Frostburg area, I am well aware of labor and profit margins, but employee safety must be addressed as well.

Employers need to take the extra steps to protect their employees since it seems the Cumberland Police Department is no longer in the business to “protect and serve.”

Sheila R. Adams

Leonardtown

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