This is Nick's first semester writing for the Harbinger. He is a Junior. He enjoys playing lacrosse for East as well as snowboarding and supporting the Ohio State Buckeyes and the CIncinnati Bengals. Read Full »
There are lots of names for the men and women of law enforcement that patrol our streets and keep us safe. They drive around Prairie Village in Dodge Chargers and prevent or take action against local illegal activities. I have always had tremendous respect for the police, and believed that you could count on them to punish the wrongdoers of society. However, recently I have lost some faith in the people who “Serve and Protect”.
I still think that they are outstanding people and will try their hardest to take care of law breakers, but I also think they need to get their priorities straight.
My belief is that they should focus their time more on serious crimes and less on things like loitering and curfews.
Granted, the city of Prairie Village doesn’t have as many murderers or rapists or robbers as KCMO or St. Louis, but we also don’t have an official curfew, either.
Near the start of this school year, my friends and I made plans to go to a ‘First Friday,’ and then to Porter Park to hang out on the playground. We arrived at the park around 10:55 p.m. The night was going well, until I saw the foreboding glow of red and blue flashing lights. I looked up and saw a police car in the parking lot. An officer stepped out of the car, shined his flashlight on us and began walking towards us. He started with the usual questions.
“Do your parents know you’re here?”
“Have you been drinking this evening?”
“Do you have any illegal items in your possession?”
He then took all of our IDs, when another car arrived on the scene.
The first officer called in all eight of our individual names to the station, one letter at a time, all in the military-alphabet system that I recognized from cliched action movies.
He spelled out my first name: “NOVEMBER-INDIA-CHARLIE-HOTEL-OSCAR-LIMA-ALPHA-SIERRA.”
The officer finally told us what we had done wrong: we were in the park after the 11 p.m. closing time. I checked my phone to see what time it was: 11:15. Suddenly the first officer jerked his finger at me.
“Hands away from your pockets, please!”
I did as I was told and said I was sorry.
After we were cleared by the station, not found to be criminals, we explained to the officers that we didn’t know about the 11p.m. closing time. This is when the first officer pointed to a sign behind us.
“It should say it right here…”
As he pointed with his flashlight, we could all clearly see that a closing time was not listed on this sign, nor any other sign in the park.
We got off with a warning and drove home.
Sure, what we were doing was breaking city rules, but don’t the police have bigger fish to fry than a group of late night park-trespassers?
This situation shows the problems that I believe exist in the police world of today. The “Porter Park Incident” was not a serious issue, and I feel that the officer was way too gung-ho about a simple misunderstanding. I understand what his intentions were, but I think it wasn’t fair to investigate us if the closing time wasn’t even posted. Also I think that two officers was a bit excessive.
I think that officers these days focus too much on partying and curfews. I’m not supporting any illegal activities, and I think that it’s good that the people doing these things are getting caught, but I do think that these nonviolent crimes shouldn’t be as high a priority as serious, dangerous crimes.