Questioning people in wee hours helps protect citizens

To the Editor:

I was a D.C. Metropolitan Police officer for 22 years. I have lived in Cumberland for five years. I write regarding the issue of police officers stopping and interviewing people on public space in the very early morning hours.

The authority and necessity of citizen contacts on public space often sparks a debate over the rights of law-abiding citizens to be free from any police contact, versus the right of these same citizens to be safe and protected within their homes and communities.

Those who raise hypothetical threats to their privacy have a valid point, but the proven experience of cities and towns across America and decades of law enforcement has shown that the ability of local law enforcement officers to interview people in circumstances and spaces where crime is more likely to be committed has proven invaluable to protecting the law-abiding citizens who become the victim pool of criminals.

The number of improper intrusions on the privacy of law-abiding citizens over the number of crimes and victims is a nearly non-existent. And, citizens have numerous channels available to file complaints and initiate investigations against cops who they feel have abused their rights.

The bottom line is that discouraging your police officers from proactively fighting crime on public space is a very bad strategy that plays into the hands of criminals and increases the number of crimes (and victims).

Encouraging and supporting your police officers who protect you at home is the same thing as supporting our troops who protect us abroad.

Gary Hankins


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