RE: Police and Law Enforcement
By Stacey Stone
October 12, 2006
Laws exist in society for a reason; they promote both safety
and social order. If someone chooses to violate a law, that
is their own choice. I know this may come as a shock to some
of you, especially you Ms. Newlun, but actions sometimes come
with consequences. These consequences may get expensive, but
that is so one may contemplate the possibility of not further
breaking the law. Punishments and damages serve two purposes,
specific and general deterrence. Maybe at some point if a person's
hard earned money is going down the drain, that person will begin
to understand that there is a more effective use of that money.
The strength of the law and the police is not what is keeping
your son from going to college, but rather it is his poor, misguided
I am proud that Ketchikan has no tolerance for minors consuming
or possessing alcohol. IT IS AGAINST THE LAW! There is no reason
to have any tolerance for a minor in this instance. If a person
chooses to drink underage, then yes they should be punished.
Is it better to set a poor precedent of letting inappropriate
and unlawful actions go unpunished? No, I would say that is
a horrible thing to do to a minor. Records are sealed after
the age of 18, but that does not mean they drop off the earth.
The best way to not have to worry about this problem is to know
the law and follow it, and then a young person won't have a record.
And yes, even though you don't believe it is possible to resist,
the 18 years I spent growing up in Ketchikan, not once did I
give in to peer pressure by consuming alcohol.
It is unfortunate that you did not understand the Drug Free Schools
Act, since it is a FEDERAL LAW! Yes, this means that a child
anywhere, in any city in this country will also be charged with
a felony if they choose to carry a drug such as marijuana onto
Being a single parent is not what puts a child at risk. Poor
parenting is what puts a child at risk. The greatest breakdown
in our society comes from the family. Parents need to hold their
kids responsible, rather than enable their irresponsible behavior.
They should always know where their children are, who they are
with, and what it is they are participating in.
The police exist to protect society. I am sure that they have
far better things to do on a Friday night than target your
son. I am sorry Ms. Newlun, but the reason your son continually
gets arrested is not because of the top-notch police force we
are lucky to have in Ketchikan, but rather because he continually
chooses to break the law.
As far as appealing to the community for a better solution, I
think you should return to the top of your letter and reread
what you yourself have written. Your son has been given opportunities
to do public service, attend classes on drinking, computer tests,
and counseling. I am sure all of these occurred before he was
put in jail. You should thank your lucky stars that these types
of alternatives and programs are available, because in many instances
they are not, and the only option is juvenile detention.
As far as coming up with a solution, it is not the burden of
the police to correct a person's behavior. If you believe we
have so many resources available now, then help your son with
something so he is not such a detriment to society. Police records
are appropriate; because unfortunately sometimes behavior has
a way of repeating if a person is not reigned in. There are
positive ways for the youth of our community to have their voices
heard, and I am sorry but police regards are not suppressing
that. What does suppress voices are actions, because as we all
know too well, actions speak louder than words.
Jail time provides a person to be extracted from society, since
they can't follow laws and function normally in society. Being
a counselor, I thought you would be well-aware of that fact.
And it is important to remember that our permanent fund is a
privilege not a right, so there is no reason that if someone
goes to jail it shouldn't be taken away. The officers at the
jail do a commendable job, one that gets little thanks. I worked
in a prison for the last three years while attending school in
Washington State. Every move of a corrections officer is scrutinized,
so I am sure that if your son was "taken down" that
he probably deserved it. I am sure that this story came as a
verbal account from your son, you mentioned before that he was
"slightly" intoxicated from the night before, so I
believe it is quite possible that he didn't quite have his facts
If the police were called for noise, they are allowed to investigate.
They are allowed to preserve the peace in our society, for that
is one of their major functions. In that instance the only way
that they are allowed into a residence is if a person physically
allows them to come in or someone inside screams for help. However,
once they are granted access, they have full access. I am proud
that they checked everyone's identification. That means they
are doing their job of trying to protect the minors in our community.
Too many people in today's society allow themselves and their
children to neglect responsibility. Ms. Newlun, it is time people
such as yourself and your son start taking responsibility for
your actions. It is not the law that is the problem; it is the
person breaking the law. I can only hope that your son is able
break this cycle of blame and irresponsibility and one day become
a functioning member of our society.
Received October 12, 2006 - Published October 12, 2006
About: "I was born and raised in Ketchikan. I am now a
first-year law student at Gonzaga University."
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on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.
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