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11-9 Letters to the Tribune
November 8, 2019

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With the recent situation in Rugby with our law enforcement and 3rd Street Station, the city council meeting was certainly abuzz with concern, anger, questions and a need for clarity. There is nothing wrong with concerned citizens in a community voicing their opinions and thoughts, looking for answers. Even if they feel that there may repercussions afterwards.

Listening through the whole meeting, I did have the opportunity to say what was on the mind of the Pierce County Fair Board, especially the past couple years. The issue is the concern of "over policing", that has many people worried that it has gotten out of hand. That seemed to be one of the major issues that local citizens and community members were concerned and angry about. There was a common thread throughout the evening that nobody hates the law enforcement, nobody hates the chief of police or other officers. Most people were asking for a reigning in on unnecessary tactics by certain officers and situations.

Maybe I spoke too long Monday evening. There was one story that I wanted to tell that night, as I was listening to peoples concerns. In my eyes, this story sums up the whole issue Monday evening, in a very light hearted manner. There is an episode on the Andy Griffith Show that goes as follows. Andy (the sheriff), had to go out of town for for a meeting and he put Barney (the deputy) in charge. Andy specifically told Barney not to do anything crazy, just answer the phone and take messages. When Andy came back to Mayberry, the whole town was so peaceful and he congratulated Barney on a job well done. UNTIL, they walked into the courthouse and found that both jail cells were so jam packed full of Mayberry citizens. Barney !! What did you do !? Barney said, "Mayberry is crime free". I got this person on littering, this one on trying to start a riot, he is in for jay walking, on and on. So Andy had to do the procedure of holding each of the prisoners before the court. Andy let them all go and dismissed all charges. Confused, Barney said, "but Andy, I had them all dead to rights, they are all guilty of their charges against them". I don't understand. I had them !! Andy said to Barney, "You need to learn something. In the sheriff business, in a small town, there are times that you need to go by the book and there are other times that you don't go by the book, but you have to go by the heart'. Yes, by the book you had them all guilty as charged but you also have to learn to go by the heart. We're a a small town.

I want everybody to think strongly about that story. Don't be scared to speak up in your community, this still is YOUR community. Citizens, we need to abide by the laws in our small community as best we can. Our fellow law enforcement officers need to learn how to go by the heart sometimes. Nobody wants our local jails plum full of jay walkers. We all need to improve and let cooler heads prevail and common sense fill my mind and hearts. Apologies can go a long way also.

Don Jelsing,

Rugby

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