Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: State police must be transparent, set example

I was impressed by Angelo Lynn’s editorial in last week’s Independent (“Defunding police? Yes, but let’s not confuse the stage”). I was also caught by the irony that that issue (June 25, 2020) was such a good example of the problem before us.
From all I have seen and read, both Tom Hanley and Peter Newton do an admirable job in running their respective law enforcement organizations. Well-run law enforcement deserves our respect and support. It’s unfair, demoralizing and completely counterproductive to treat them the same as the poorly run organizations that really do need scrutiny. It is our job as citizens to pay enough attention and do our homework so that we know the difference. Blind tarnishment is a cop-out (pardon the pun).
That same paper also contained the report of the traffic stop of State Police Lt. Cory Lozier by Addison County deputy sheriff Michael Elmore. Lt. Lozier was speeding 25 mph over the speed limit on a 2-lane road that I travel frequently. 
I was struck by:
•  The danger. Driving 65 mph on that road is a serious danger to other cars.
•  No emergency. There was no valid reason for that level of speed.
•  His arrogance. Lt. Lozier treated Deputy Sheriff Elmore in a rude, demeaning and arrogant manner and spun off after the encounter.
•  No ticket. Apparently police are above the law.
•  No transparency. State Police shut the door on actions (if any) taken with Lt. Lozier. He gets to just walk away.
Perhaps those who are concerned about police behavior should turn their attention toward the Vermont State Police. I believe that it is only fair to:
•  Demand transparency.
•  Issue Lt. Lozier a ticket for $277.00 and assess 5 points against his driver’s license. That is what any of us would face under the same circumstances.
•  Make sure Lt. Lozier pays that fine out of his own pocket, not with our tax money by submitting it as an “expense.”
Lt. Lozier also owes Deputy Sheriff Elmore an apology for his behavior.
Police misconduct is NOT OK, and when it happens, the consequences should fit the “crime.” I call on the Vermont State Police to show by their actions that they agree with this principle.
Mary Lu Harding
Lincoln

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