Sunday, March 13, 2011

Where have all the police gone?

My neighbor has been in need of a ride home from work of late. He works in a part of town that is not safe to be walking late at night and he is released from work at 11:15 pm. His work place is seven and a half miles away, and after a long day’s work, that is a long way to have to walk home through dangerous neighborhoods. So, late Friday night he and I were traveling homeward on South Seneca and we saw a myriad of flashing colored lights around Seneca Bowl.

As we drew nearer we had to slow down. Police cars were lined up all along the north block. They filled the west parking lot. Twelve police cars were lined up along Seneca. More police cars were packed into the south parking lot and the parking lots of the neighboring businesses. My best estimate is a count of over forty police cars. At least one helicopter continued flying overhead.

Why? Was this a hostage situation? Was this a dirty bomb threat by terrorists?

After driving home I tried to glean information from various news reporting agencies. Nothing showed up anywhere. Saturday’s newspaper showed nothing either. Surely such an enormous disturbance in the neighborhood warranted some form of public explanation!

Today I called the bowling alley and asked about the situation. I was informed that a couple of jerks started fighting and the police officer that is hired to maintain security radioed for back up. But his radio cut out and the dispatcher signaled that an officer was in distress.

Now I sympathize with those who serve as police officers that if an officer is in need of help that they all want to come to their brother’s aid. I understand that they all relate to the sense of need not to be left alone in such a situation. But the dispatcher knew that it was a simple situation of two jerks fighting. Is there any justification for 40 or more police cars cramming into such a small area for such little reason? Is there any justification for leaving the rest of the city unguarded?

What about the distress that they caused to the poor people of the neighborhood? What about those especially who live next to this block? I live five blocks from there and it troubled my spirit. Surely those who were closer must have felt troubled.

Moreover, this was a terrible waste of manpower and money.

I do not want to disparage the police and sheriff’s departments nor those who serve. Nevertheless, something is very askew in this matter. This is not right. It is actually a dangerous thing. This is a very serious lack of effective communication in matters that impact the community’s safety. How is such error possible? How can two belligerent and unruly jerks become cause for an enormous invasive force of armed agents of the government?

Was this a joke? What could the officers have been thinking to pile upon each other as they did? The parking lots were jammed full of police vehicles. It was nearly like the nutty pile up scenes in comedy movies where the silly police ram into each other, flipping and crashing and landing on each other while the bad guys race off unscathed. Perhaps this is why it went unreported in the media. How would the city of Wichita and Sedgwick County explain this without embarrassment? My neighbor was able to observe two handcuffed men sitting in the parking lot, but no other activity besides the horde of police vehicles, as we drove past. Two silly men and forty or more police vehicles with the accompanying officers. Wow. Such proficiency leaves one in awe. No wonder we keep hearing about the need to increase taxes to provide for a larger police budget.

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