Editor: I am writing this in response to E. Whaley`s letter regarding the increased presence of law enforcement in downtown Langley (The Times, March 4). I have been concerned about policing for a long time and I am often worried about the impact it might have on a neighbourhood, as people tend to get worried while in the presence of police officers.
What I am claiming is that officers tend to be regarded as “things” of fear and those who lack professionalism in their jobs. In fact I am often worried or concerned that the general public does not even see these people as human.
Officers dedicate themselves to their jobs and can often be seen working while on duty, no matter the occasion. They do not target individuals for their amusement or to please “boredom.” They do it because it is their job to find suspects of crime and to maintain order in a neighbourhood.
I understand the concern that they might be targeting “law-abiding citizens,” but it has to be understood that if someone matches the description of a possible suspect, then they are going to be questioned or checked to make sure that they do not match the criminal’s description, regardless if their back is turned or not.
There is also the mentioning of safety. As Whaley claimed, we do have property crime, however the crime is relatively low. This usually involves a lot of factors such as the size of the city and the distributed wealth, but in the end it also includes the amount of policing which goes on in an area. In fact the higher the level of policing in a given place, the less crime there is, due to officers responding more quickly to crimes or having better information about the given area.
In regards to the fear of officers that people might have, another reason police might stop a pedestrian is not just because they feel it is necessary, but that they want to engage with the community and talk with the people. Officers who stop individuals for anything besides suspecting them are trying to communicate with the “pedestrians,” so they can understand that the officers are people and not just machines designed to enforce the law.
The increased presence of officers in Langley creates more safety and can allow better connection with the public, which results in a positive impact on the city. These are people doing their duty to uphold law and order, attempting to keep the city safe and establishing better relationships.
In regards to whether the dollar was well spent or not, it has to be understood that the police are working to reduce the crime rate, much as community and support programs are. That is money better spent than attempting to fix a button.