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Dear Editor,

I am writing this letter in response to the article concerning the recent start of firearm training for our police officers.

It seems that our Police Commissioner has pursued this with what I believe to be alarming zealousness. And for the life of me I cannot fathom the logic behind the need for firearms here on our tranquil Island.

Yes, we had the tragic shooting of an officer 7 years ago and as a result the Courts have instituted careful and diligent screening. I applaud that.

But what is the reasoning behind the arming of the Police? We do not have a gang problem — not that I am aware of —nor a population armed to the teeth! 

Let's for a moment revisit some history concerning 'weapons' that were issued to the police in past years.

As I understand it DPS officers were at one time issued 'nightsticks' which were later taken away because of the abuse of those 'weapons'. Then of course there was the Pepper spray that was also issued, then as was the case w/ 'billy-clubs' were also taken away due to misuse. 

Now we want our officers to carry guns? Do we really? Is it necessary? We can only pray that we are not headed for some tragic incident that will destroy a life. Again I ask, WHY? What logic is at the heart of this decision?

I am aware that our police commissioner wants to take a strong stand on crime, any and all crime... and that is indeed commendable. But this is not L.A. — nor any other big city with the problems that are associated with big city crime.

I know there will be no response to this letter. The training has already begun. But, let us hope that tragedy will and can be avoided.

Very sincerely,

John Engle

(Editor’s Note: These concerns have been duly noted during discussion of this issue in the community — arming police officers. I personally think it’s a tragedy waiting to happen… to someone… to anyone. ra)