Going cheap on police can have a high cost
To the editor:
I read with interest a Nov. 27 letter from a Stockbridge resident regarding the contract and tenure of Police Chief Robert Eaton.
As a member of a family which has a retail business in downtown Stockbridge, and as someone who is very acquainted with both Chief Eaton and town politics, I would like to go on record with our strong support not only for Chief Eaton personally, but also for the process that he has implemented to further professionalize the Stockbridge police department. Chief Eaton is a tremendous asset to our community and has made terrific efforts to reach out to many people and businesses there. He has been an excellent choice for Stockbridge!
The writer and the vocal group which he represents may have some valid points, but the reality of modern day policing is that it cannot be defined by just the simple formula that might have worked in the good old days. No one wants unneeded expense, but we are completely in favor of the chief and the department being given the necessary tools and personnel to handle the town's requirements fully. These can be complex and require a substantial police presence at certain events and venues, as well as "nuts and bolts" police work requiring feet on the ground and human presence in town.
During a recent week, a number of us were victimized by a woman who passed counterfeit money to about five businesses in town, as well as some in Lenox. Due to the shortage of police officers on duty, we were not able to reach an officer in the few minutes we had to try and catch this person. However, according to some folks in town, we are adequately policed. Unfortunately this does not square with the reality.
We may be a small, quaint, New England town, but we have real needs and are not exempt from crime. Here was one in spades that could have ended differently had there been just one extra person on duty. We can not pinch pennies when it comes to our safety, we can't live in the past, and we have to counter opinions such as stated by this writer with intelligent and factual information which I hope I have presented.