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Readers' Views: Don't keep us in the dark about police cuts

Posted 2/5/13


If you walked around Middletown and asked residents what they thought about the police force, it is likely that a good number of them would relay an anecdote about how they, or somebody they know, was harassed by an officer while walking …

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Readers' Views: Don't keep us in the dark about police cuts


I have personally experienced some questionable behavior from the police force. When I was in high school, I was arrested for underage drinking, but I was not charged because the police officer who arrested me could not attend my court date since he was suspended for brandishing a weapon while off duty.

After experiencing and hearing about these incidents, it’s only natural to ask, “Why are we paying for this?”  

In my opinion, the first priority of any government is to protect its citizens. Therefore, it’s ill-advised to reduce the police force in the middle of an economic recovery.

Typically, with high unemployment comes increased criminal activity –  specifically, drug abuse and domestic violence. Middletown Borough Council should keep in mind that we had a drug- related homicide just a few months ago.

Despite some of the negative experiences we may have had with the Middletown police department, it’s important to make sure that the police have the resources needed to keep our citizens safe.

At the end of every fiscal year, it’s vital that we look at how to make our civil institutions more cost efficient. It requires that we have an open conversation about costs and benefits.

We must have a strong leadership team that is willing to make sound decisions and have an open dialogue with the citizens who are affected by these decisions.

Unfortunately, the current council is leaving its citizens in the dark about what they are going to do with the police force.

Chief of Police Mark Hovan’s resignation should give residents cause for concern, especially since there is a shroud of mystery over why he resigned.

While the 2013 budget gives us a general idea of where we will see major cuts, it does not tell us which jobs will be cut and what services will be taken away.

As citizens of Middletown, we deserve to know what we stand to gain and lose when a budget is voted on, especially with something as vital as the police force.

It’s a good idea for any institution to find ways to cut excessive spending, and the police force over the years has taken a significant chunk of our budget.

However, the current council owes the citizens of Middletown the courtesy of explaining exactly what they plan to cut – and what this means for the safety of our community.

                                        David Madsen

The writer is a Democratic candidate for Middletown Borough Council in the Second Ward.