Let's choose safety -- with Bethel's own P.D.
To the Editor:
I was born and raised in Manhattan, New York City, so my vision of the police arises out of the protection that a superb police force provided from the very real dangers that lurked around me. As a little girl, the “beat” cops assured me that I was safe from the perils of the city. They were our friends and their presence promised me that no one would hurt me while they were on duty.
I have been in northern New England for thirty-one years and in Bethel for eight. Wherever I have lived I have never been threatened with the idea that the police would not be there to protect me from danger, robbery, vandalism or any of the series of crimes that increasingly endanger the peaceful life that New England provides.
I have had many friendly and satisfying experiences with the Bethel Police Department. As a woman living alone in a secluded area, I have had a few frightening times. I have found the Bethel Police response to be swift, caring, thorough, professional and successful in solving my problem and quieting my fears. As a friend of the police all my life, I must unequivocally say that the Bethel Police are the best I have ever dealt with. They always have left me feeling safe and their ability to relate their concern for me is heartwarming.
Now I find that a group of citizens wants to dispose of our full-time police force and leave us ultimately to the protection of the routine patrols of the County Sheriff’s Department. Although I have heard rumors of personnel problems within the force and political troubles with certain town servants, I can only believe that this is solely a money saving initiative fueled by the economy and driven by some very shortsighted citizens. One only need to visit a trashed, burglarized home, a vandalized cemetery or see a shaken convenience store clerk who has been robbed at gunpoint to begin thinking just how foolish it will be to make this shallow, politically immature tradeoff.
I try to be an objective person, but I have found it nearly impossible to embrace the logic that guided this proposal to our June 8 election. How can we reasonably expect 12 patrol sheriffs to serve and protect Bethel while they are policing the other 2,200 square miles of this county? How can a judicious sober person believe that we will be protected in this ever-increasing crime-spotted world? I urge all who vote on June 8 to choose option one on their ballot. Let’s keep our Police Department. Let’s choose safety.
Judith Price Diamond