21-year-old Backus woman killed in crash in Pine River

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It's the cop's fault

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My home was burglarized while I was at work today; why aren’t the cops preventing this? Our snowmobile was stolen today; why don’t the cops do something? My daughter was offered drugs after school today; why aren’t the cops arresting drug dealers? Our son was killed by a drunk driver; why aren’t the cops stopping the drunk drivers?

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My son was stopped by police officer for no reason. The cops are picking on my child. My cousin’s brother-in-law’s sister’s friend was arrested for drunk driving and she only had a couple beers. The cops waxed her headlights and followed her out of the bar parking lot. Cops should be arresting criminals but that does not include me, my family or friends as none of us are doing anything wrong. Our marijuana is just for personal use.

Two paragraphs with an entirely different attitude toward law enforcement, but these statements are all too often uttered by the same individuals at different times. Police officers do not have the luxury of having a crystal ball that can tell them who will drive all the way home drunk and who will kill a bus load of school children.

Police officers do not get any bonuses for arresting anyone. On the contrary, those who have been arrested tell a story that gives the impression they have been victimized. It seems current trend is to blame the police officer from both directions.

Whatever happened to personal responsibility?

Minor traffic stops are what lead to the arrest of people under the influence of alcohol and drugs. If we wait until a vehicle crosses the center line, it would be too late. If you have been consuming alcohol and are stopped for a light out, you should expect to be evaluated to determine if you can safely operate a motor vehicle.

Everyone says they only had a couple. Do you want a police officer to take the driver’s word for it and send them on down the road? No, you would expect the officer to professionally determine whether the driver is over the .08 alcohol limit. This can only be accomplished through a series of standardized tests required by the courts.

Law enforcement is very heavily regulated. This includes strict guidelines for stopping a motorist. Police officers are mandated to follow state laws and department policy. Video/audio recording is routinely installed in squad cars.

Also, video technology is so prevalent in today’s society that you can assume you are being recorded in some form at all times while in public. If a police officer were acting outside these very restrictive boundaries, any case he was involved with would not proceed in court. The officer would also be subject to departmental discipline, including termination, and could face criminal or civil prosecution.

It is impossible for administration to respond to the rumor mill other than to say there have been no cases within Breezy Point that the courts have indicated any officer acted improperly. There also have not been any individuals that have come forward with a complaint where the evidence indicated an officer acted improperly.

These disputes are often easily settled by simply observing the video recording. There are always two sides to the story and what you “heard” is not the whole truth.

Crow Wing County ranked eighth out of 87 counties for alcohol-related crashes from 2004 through 2006. There were 272 deaths and 762 serious injuries in Minnesota related to impairment during that timeframe. These are 100 percent preventable!

Law enforcement is making a nationwide effort to prevent these needless deaths and injuries through campaigns like Safe and Sober and Operation Nightcap now known as Towards Zero Death.

There were 74,845 arrests for impaired operation from 2004 to 2006 and one in five Minnesotans have at least one DWI arrest on their driving record.

Driving while impaired is never acceptable and law enforcement should not have to apologize for preventing it. Law enforcement is not against drinking. You can have a drink with dinner and will not be arrested. A test will give an accurate reading of the amount of alcohol in an individual’s system. Anyone who makes the claim of being arrested after only one drink is simply not telling the truth.

Police officers cannot determine who the public needs protection from by reading Taro Cards. We need to make inquires and that means we have to stop and talk to the public. In rural Minnesota this includes traffic stops. If you are contacted by an officer, you need not be offended by the minor inconvenience or the questions that you are asked. No one is implying that you are a criminal. They are simply doing their job — what you pay them to do and how they are trained to do it.

If you are not involved in any criminal activity the stop will be brief and you will soon be on your way. The alternative would be anarchy and that is what Mogadishu, Somalia, is experiencing. If you do not want to be inconvenienced by a stop, simply keep your vehicle in working condition and obey the traffic laws.

Law enforcement does not write the statutes and if you disagree with a law, contact your legislator to change it.

Today’s society has somehow evolved into the belief that laws are written for others to follow. This was best displayed with a recent actual traffic stop where the driver was speeding and talking on a cell telephone. The bumper sticker on the car read, “Hang up and drive.” These same individuals are often the first to complain that others are speeding past their home.

Do the stops make the difference? You be the judge. When law enforcement changed its tactics from 1997 to 2007, theft related calls declined 39.5 percent and burglaries declined a whopping 79 percent. This occurred while the area experienced a population explosion and a methamphetamine epidemic. Rates have continued to remain low ever since.

Those who appreciate the men and women who are willing to put their lives in danger to prevent crime and unnecessary tragedies need to speak up and be heard. It is those who have been stopped who are telling stories of rouge cops to temper their embarrassment for violating state law.

Imagine going to work every day knowing that simply doing your job to the best of your ability is going to result in an investigation of your conduct. On top of that, if you make an error someone may be severely injured or die and that someone could be you.

Not everyone is willing to sign up for this assignment, but it is imperative that we have men and women who do. Our officers could sit back and collect a paycheck doing the minimal to get by. They choose to place themselves into very dangerous situations knowing each time creates a situation for someone to whine and spread vicious rumors to cover for their own personal character faults.

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