Letters An abuse of police powers
To the editor:
I read with interest the articles in the June 6 Plain Talk about the "stings" that have been conducted by the Vermillion Police under the leadership of Police Chief Art Mabry, and completely agree that stings serve no purpose except to prove that mistakes can be made.
The "stings" and the way they are designed and carried out remind me of a story where a man is walking in circles around a street light at midnight and a passerby asks him what is he doing? The man replies "I lost my car keys and am looking for them." The passerby asks "Do you know about where you lost the keys? "Yes," he replies," it was two blocks down the street." "Well, why are you looking for them here?" asks the passerby. "The light's better here," says the man."
I believe the license holders of Vermillion are the street lights, and the police chief will keep circling, and eventually destroy the source. My question is how many honest and respected citizens who own and or work for businesses is he going to injure and destroy in his quest to make Vermillion a "safe place" (I, for some reason have never felt that Vermillion was in any way an unsafe place as I unknowingly raised my family here and returned here not knowing it was unsafe prior to this police chief coming here).
If he has proof that a minor he arrests for underage consumption has bought alcohol from a retailer then he should stay within the law and arrest that person.
I think it is an abuse of police powers to use the mentality "we will shoot them all � that way we will catch the guilty one," otherwise there would be retailers named who have been convicted of selling to minors in a real life setting.
He states that he enforces traffic violations, but I don't see him pulling "stings" on car dealers for selling cars to individuals that don't have drivers licenses or insurance. Is that not a violation where the source can be eliminated?
The police chief stated that there was one party where 60 underage persons were charged, but I don't find any statement of the source of alcohol which was consumed or in possession by these underage individuals. This must be the grounds to assume that it was all bought by these underage individuals from retailers. I will not for a moment believe that the alcohol purchased at a fraternity or "house" party is purchased by a minor.
He states that this town has a reputation of being a party town. By whose standards??? Is Brookings a party town? Is Ames, IA a party town? Is Lincoln, NE a party town? They must be total sin holes using the standards that the chief is using. We have underage people drinking alcohol, and we cannot be safe until it is wiped from the city limits. This puts us on a level of crimes that Al Capone would've shied away from.
The difference is the city employees (city manager and police chief) in Brookings, Ames, IA and Lincoln, NE don't go around making statements that their town is a party town. Wow!! Is this not great public relations or what for a town like ours that is making great strides in developing growth?
I do know that some license holders are fearful of "extra police protection" if they speak out and also know that the extra protection could mean a total destruction of their business and livelihood. This can not be allowed in Vermillion or anywhere in this country.
This is where our elected officials need to have all the facts to protect the rights of all citizens. If we must resort to Gestapo tactics of trying to trap honest people into making mistakes, the potential crime must be so heinous to justify it. Otherwise the police are only catching some business person in a proforma situation rather than in the actual act of selling to a minor that really attempts to buy of their own free will.
I am now retired, and do not have any business affiliation here in Vermillion, but I am gravely concerned about what a man who has no qualms about lying will do to people who oppose his views. I write this letter asking our elected representatives to be very vigilant over people who could misuse their entrusted powers to support their own egos and personal agendas.
A concerned citizen,
Harlan F. Schott
Medical facility's support appreciated
To the editor:
June 30, 2003 will be the 10th anniversary of the ribbon cutting for the Sioux Valley Vermillion Medical Center. The medical center now includes a new hospital, medical clinic, care center and congregate care center.
Prior to the construction of this new facility, there was a debate in the community as to whether this facility should be constructed and as to whether the community should assist in the funding of the project. In a 1991 referendum, 60 percent of the voters approved a 1 cent sales tax that went on to provide a portion of the funds for the cost of this new medical center. This referendum not only gave the hospital facility the financial resources to go forward, but is was a vote by the community that said yes, we need a new health care facility and we're willing to help pay for it.
I would like to thank all of those who supported the creation and development of this facility. Whenever an individual receives care for in this facility, you have played a role in making that care possible.
The beauty of all this is that the support you gave to this facility has not only made the past 10 years possible but will continue for generations to come.
Thus you should take a moment to pat yourselves on the back for making the decision to support this health care facility in its contribution to the health care of the citizens of Vermillion and the surrounding area.
William J. Dendinger, MD