To the Editor:
I read the NorthCountryNow.com article about “St. Lawrence County Police Now Allowed To Prosecute Traffic Cases” and while at first it sounds like a good idea, and I do understand the workload in the DA’s office, I’m not so sure it’s the right thing to do.
There is a huge difference between acting as a witness to a V and T ticket and such, and being a legal prosecutor for police officers.
Personally, I very much appreciate the local police, Border Patrol, State Police and Sheriff’s high visibility. It’s a bit of a contest sometimes in our vehicle to count the number of police vehicles we see. I love coming up on one, lights flashing, when they have stopped a car that flew by me like lightning only a few minutes before (a couple of weeks ago now).
Times like that I say a thanks for their being there. And a bit smug that another miscreant might end up walking in future.
A cop is not a lawyer, although many are close to it. Their training seems to have been excellent and most appear to believe in “To Serve and to Protect”.
As a result, I:
1. I never want to have to pay any tax increase for putting those cops in court as a prosecutor, unless they wish to do so. Do not force it upon them, or things will change for the worse, as the article describes.
It should only be voluntarily on their part, and not a requirement if they are uncomfortable or incompetent to perform such a task. The title sounds good, but the article indicates to me it is mandatory.
How will this affect their records (jacket, etc) if a cop is inept at it, or doesn’t wish to have that legal responsibility?
What other states have just begun this kind of setup? How do they do it?
2. How much will this affect the often visible appearance of our law enforcement?
How many days per month will they spend prosecuting instead of patrolling their assigned areas?
How many “on the road” patrols per month will disappear because they are doing a DA’s job?
3. Offhand I don’t think I like this without a lot more information and a promise of never a tax increase because of it.
Before anyone says I have no background to speak on this subject, I have had my fair dealings with police officers but space grows short here; I’ll save that for if/when I need it.