SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska



Minors Drinking
By Sunny Jim Sundahl


October 11, 2006

As an ex-police officer, in Ketchikan, in the early seventies, I would like to address MS Newlun.

First even back in the early seventies kids had alcohol and drug problems. Parents sometimes wanted to help direct their path but many didn't care or know how to handle the problem before it got out of hand. There was little help for the parent and the police department is not a social service, it is there to protect and serve. Not that we didn't direct the parents or call social services, we did and I am sure they do now. But since the problems were major among the youth there, the social workers were over loaded and many times could not help. Instead of facing their child's problems parents would go in to denial, and do very little to help them. The police can only do so much, and we were busy all the time with many things, if we would sit with a youth at the station, someone could be breaking in to a home or business. So there are services for your children but you need to keep at it, it will not continue if you do not do your job as a parent single or not. I knew many single mothers were right on their kids and did all they could do to protect thier child. The state or police are not babysitters nor are they able to be. When a child is taken from a family they end up in foster care. A family that provided at least some care and help for the child.

Peer pressure is a major problem also, for kids. Since Ketchikan, had no major attractions to help kids they find thier own ways. Boredom is one of the biggest problems for them. That is way you see sex and alcohol as problems with kids in towns with not access to the outside world. They just can't hop in to a car and go to Prince Rupert, BC or Juneau. No break from the rains, they hang where they stay dry and can have fun. So what are they going to do if that is not a youth center, entertainment center or controlled homes. Many things were tried back then, a teen center was in use but many kids would not go because it was controlled by a click of kids and it didn't welcome other clicks.

About law enforcement being a police state, I don't think so, even today. There are so many checks and balances, laws and lawyers that stop that. But to tell you the truth I would not be a police officer now for love nor money. Many kids today have no repect for anyone or anything. To many parents have let TV, schools and society raise their kids it would be hard for me to police them. As for the treatment your son recieved in jail, well I have been there when prisoners rebel and later say they didn't do anything. Jails have no cushy floors, walls or bars. When a prisoner assaults an officer they are put down and restrained, in if they are drunk put in an easy clean cell. Stainless steel everything. With the diseases today I can see why. I was not there so all I can say is he shouldn't have drank to much to get arrested.

Another thing are kids targetted by police, yes and no. If the child is a problem and he stands out and if he has many repeat problems he is watched more closely.

It is a little late for your son, you may want to point the finger at Ketchikan, police, jail, court or social services but remember three are pointing back to you. It is the parents that have the responsiblity to watch after and raise their children. The children did not make them selves nor did society, you did.

Sunny Jim Sundahl
Portland, Oregon

Received October 10, 2006 - Published October 11, 2006

About: " Ex-police officer Ketchikan, Gateway Borough, Federal Police Officer and Security Company owner & Operator"


Related Viewpoint:

letterPolice and law enforcement in Ketchikan By Vicky Newlun - Ketchikan, AK


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Ketchikan, Alaska