To the Editor:
I read Publisher Art Hall's recent Op-ed, "Are Police at Worksites Necessary?"
Upon reading the title, I imagined a much different perspective than that given by Hall. In the column, Hall describes his interactions with two law enforcement officers; one described as "defensive," the other, "altogether different."
In the column, Hall references approaching both officers, questioning them as to their purpose, and their payment, referencing "complaints received as to wasting money."
Hall went on to compare this type of action in America to a "police state like in China," and even expressed his concern for the future of our great nation and what we would be leaving to future generations.
As a law enforcement officer, and the head of a police union, I found this entire column to be nothing more than a "hit piece" with only one objective, to further divide the community from the law enforcement officers who swore oaths to protect them.
For clarification, the working company (albeit a utility company, tree company, etc.) reimburses the town for the cost of the officers, typically at a higher rate than the officers are paid. Hall's allusion to the "public paying" is akin to the statement, "Well, I pay your salary." Hall, in the day of the nearly dead print media, my question to you is, who exactly pays your salary?
I assure you from the men and women throughout Cape May County that I interact with either as an officer, or within the union, are proud supporters of law enforcement and the daily effort they put out to ensure the residents and their families are safe and protected every day. These types of columns are common in major cities faced with civil unrest and are certainly not reflective of the residents of this great county.
As I continued to examine this column during the evening hours, I read of at least two additional law enforcement officers slain in the line of duty - one being Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal, of the Harris County Sheriff's Office, Texas. Deputy Dhaliwal was shot in the back, executed, during a traffic stop. What do you think of your column, as you call it, referencing a police state, thinking about the murder of an officer during an unrelated traffic stop?
In 2019, words have so much more meaning than ever before. Words enrage, words assault and words can kill. Columns painting law enforcement officers as totalitarian rulers, operating without reason and cause leads to targets on their backs. I'm sure this may assist in internet traffic for your paper, but it will ultimately end up destroying the community in which you seek to incite.
I ask that before you print a piece such as this, perhaps you do some investigation, talking to citizens and officers alike. Find a little more information, as opposed to "inflammation."
ED. NOTE: The author is president/state delegate of Cape May County PBA Local 401.