Archive for Thursday, June 15, 2006

Letter to the editor

June 15, 2006

To the editor:

On May 8, I received a speeding ticket. My goodness, I live on 6th Street and when I'm sitting on my front porch I condemn the drivers that speed by my home. However on that day, I drove by the Baker tennis courts, turned on to 6th Street and apparently accelerated too much and was caught on radar by a city policeman. The fact that I got a ticket is not my concern. My concern is the personality of the officer that wrote me the ticket. I have lived in Baldwin City since 1968 and have witnessed the police department grow from one officer, George Rebman, who knew every child in town by their first name and their parents, to the numerous officers on duty at the present time. At that time every child respected George and would not hesitate to go to him if they had a problem because he was their friend.

When I realized that I had "been caught speeding" and the officer turned on his lights, I pulled into my own driveway. I took my driver's license out of my wallet and got out of my car. I was immediately ordered to "get back in my car and stay there!" When my husband exited the house to see what was happening, he was immediately ordered to "get back in the house." I'm sure this is how the officer was taught to handle an investigation, as he explained his ticketing me. However, this is not New York City or even Kansas City. I never saw the officer's face as he remained behind my line of vision at all times and extended his arm to reach the driver's window to hand me the ticket. I fear that any child would not feel comfortable in contacting this officer if they had a problem or consider him to be their friend.

Since this incident, several people have stopped by my front porch and expressed their concern about the rudeness and intimidation they encountered when being ticketed. We, the citizens of Baldwin City, realize that in the fast pace of everyday living, we sometimes speed or run a stop sign. Receiving a ticket is not our complaint! It is the personality of the police department. If we are to continue to promote Baldwin City's small town atmosphere, the Police Department needs to show small town courtesy. In a recent Signal article, Chief McKenna stated that all Baldwin City police officers are well trained. How about a little training in public relations and common courtesy? The officer's name? His signature on the ticket was totally illegible.

May Gorton

Baldwin City

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