State Police Did Their Job

We support law enforcers in their effort to prevent alcohol-related tragedies even if it means raiding an outdoor party scene.

State police from St. Johnsbury and Derby converged on a gathering of over 100 youths partying earlier this month in Lyndon. One result of the party bust were several citations for underage consumption of alcohol. But the most important thing to come out of the state police response was that no drunk teen-ager got behind the steering wheel of a car and drove himself or someone else into a fatal crash.

Despite this possible life-saving factor, there are some people who believe the state police were too aggressive in the party raid. One man, a father of one of the party-goers, referred to the police response as a "military-style assault."

We learned of injuries to children, mostly cuts and bruises, but also one back injury that required the boy go to the hospital. These teens were not injured because police broke up their party. They suffered the injuries by fleeing the scene.

As we've noted many times before, people need to take responsibility for their own actions. Whenever people break the law they better be prepared for the consequences. To say a trooper shouldn't have chased a teen to the point that the teen fell and scraped his knee means ignoring the initial wrongs. The under-21 person should not have been drinking, and he or she shouldn't have run from the police.

Law enforcement is like a lot of things, including the media, the bad acts of a few can taint the group as a whole. We've heard the stories of abusive cops like the ones who beat Rodney King, and unfortunately, these isolated events make it easier for people to swallow the possibility that all police officers abuse their power.

Like all taxpayer-funded jobs, police are accountable to the public for their actions. We believe no police officer is above the law and that whenever an officer puts on a uniform, he or she should be under a microscope.

In the case of the Lyndon party bust, if any trooper overstepped the boundaries of his lawful duty, he should be punished. We assume that because no parents or party-goers complained to the police of abuse a week after the party raid, there must have been no over-aggressive trooper.

What we know for sure is that no area youth died from drinking and driving that night. Keep up the good work, law enforcement personnel.

Copyright 1999

The Caledonian-Record


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