Letters to the Editor
Reader to police: set a better example
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The Community Voice:
On a recent afternoon I stopped at an intersection alongside a police vehicle. The officer driving the car was speaking on a hand-held cell phone in an animated fashion.
While we waited for the light to change, I observed him put on his seat belt. When the light changed to green, he turned right still talking on the phone.
He was not using his lights or siren at the time. I did not observe the officer prior to this, so I do not know whether he was speaking on the phone while driving up to the corner or whether he had driven there without his seat belt on, but the clear impression was that he was violating two parts of the California driving code.
Had the officer observed me doing these things, he would have been performing his duty to issue me a citation. As far as I am aware, police officers are subject to the same code as other citizens but this is not the first time I have observed a Rohnert Park police officer speaking on a hand-held cell phone while driving a police vehicle. Our officers must set the example for other drivers. A young driver observing this behavior may conclude either that it is okay or that the police are above the law.
Given recent events, it is more important than ever that citizens respect and obey the police but that will only happen if officers obey the law and act in a professional manner.
Building Community Relationships
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I recently attended the Rohnert Park Citizens’ Academy conducted by our local Department of Public Safety. The goal of the 10 evening classes was to enhance community relationships by educating a dozen “students” on what happens behind the badge. We learned details about police and fire procedures and asked questions about regulations governing the use of force, local tactics, and legal requirements in a variety of situations. Details on investigations, evidence handling, traffic statistics, impaired driving incidents, and many other activities helped us understand the magnitude of the tasks at hand.

The specifics were interesting and outlined the level of detail required of these professionals on a day-to-day basis, but the one thing that was most impressive about our public safety folks is that they are truly members of our community. They coach little league teams, attend family graduations, and volunteer their off-duty time to local groups. Each instructor expressed satisfaction with assigned tasks and the opportunity to be part of our city. I am thankful that we have these dedicated police and fire professionals serving Rohnert Park. I encourage others to attend a Citizens’ Academy in the future to learn more.

Andy Durkee
Rohnert Park

Andy Durkee
Rohnert Park
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