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Letters to the Editor: Do ‘defund’ activists even know how impossible a cop’s job is?

San Diego Police officers stand near police headquarters as Black Lives Matter protesters gather in the area June 14.
(K.C. Alfred / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

To the editor: There are some things that the critics of police officers and departments need to know before they try to chasten us. (“Rodney King’s beating provides a road map for investigating police misconduct,” Opinion, June 11)

First, if you don’t want quality-of-life laws enforced, then don’t pass them. We don’t get to pick which laws we enforce and which ones we do not.

Second, we have inherited the problems that politicians did not want to deal with. We never asked to handle homelessness or mental illness, two problems that were relegated to us when lawmakers failed to find a better solution. We’ve tried to do our best, even without the training or resources.

This condemnation hurts, especially when most people wouldn’t dream of criticizing a short-order cook but are, all of a sudden, experts in the criminal justice system and all of its nuances. I truly hope our critics get all the reforms they seek, especially the most radical, because it will make an irrefutable case for the consequences of emotion and ignorance.

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Nevertheless, people should just let us know what they want. We’ve always tried to do our best, but right now we are not only hurt but also confused.

Charles Heal, La Verne

The writer is a retired Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department commander.

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To the editor: Police recruits new to the job don’t start out inclined to harm rather than help citizens. The recruitment process ends with a psychological exam. The purpose is to exclude candidates who exhibit characteristics that are not compatible with police work.

The entry-level selection process is very competitive. In my experience working with the Los Angeles Police Department in the 1980s, in both the recruitment and selection of new officers, only about 2% of all applicants made it into the Police Academy for training.

Once on the job, however, things can change. Two rookie officers stood by and watched as their senior training officer snuffed out the life of George Floyd in Minneapolis. I agree with op-ed article writer Jim Newton — this points to a cultural problem.

Only when there’s accountability for bad behavior at all levels in police departments, and when all disciplinary actions and outcomes are made public, can this end. We owe it to the good cops.

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Marsha Noble, Carlsbad

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To the editor: In a nation where there is a proliferation of lethal weapons, police too often face deadly confrontations. Part of the equation of excessive force is the threat of encountering armed individuals.

The people are justified in their protest against police racial bias and excessive force. They should include the need for gun control as part of their protests.

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Gerald Benezra, Northridge


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