LETTER: Letter writer clarifies intent of his request of the council
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 4:56 AM
In your Feb. 12th edition of the Herald, in the article "Policing matters dominate council discussions," reference was made to a letter I wrote to councilmember Nancy Nelson with respect to allocation of police resources in the village.
In the article, for whatever reason, this letter was characterized as a request for "policing the Spring Grove Public School" and that I was somehow asking for "an officer to primarily guard the school."
This was a mischaracterization of my request. In my letter, I pointed out:
I don't know the hours or schedules of the police, but I recall that for years and years the police in the police car parked by the school crossing at least after school for the time that the crossing guards were there.
I haven't seen the police car there now for at least several years. I think a lot of parents would be more comfortable if it was there at those times.
Also, we have all been made aware of the school tragedy out east. My question is why police in the police car couldn't be parked in front of the school for at least a portion of each school day beyond the minutes while school lets out?
The police could park on the street in front of the grade school door and, at the same time, monitor through traffic on Hwy. 44/Main Street. People would notice this and talk about it, and it would become general knowledge around the area - "The Spring Grove Police guard the school."
I submit that protecting our children (I have a 10-year-old in school) is at least as important as trying to catch someone 10 mph over the speed limit out west of (Marv) Gunderson's in the evening when there is virtually no traffic anywhere.
I also submit that speeding on Main Street in front of the school during the day is certainly more dangerous than out by the car wash in the evenings. What is more important and precious to us than our children?
I don't think this request is or was a request for "policing the Spring Grove Public School" or that I was somehow asking for "an officer to primarily guard the school."
Police are employed by the citizens of the community to protect the community. They are paid to do that "someplace."
My suggestion was and is simply advancing the common-sense idea that protecting the community could and should include traffic control when and where traffic and the little children of our community share the streets most intensively.
My suggestion is also that traffic control during the day can very effectively take place by parking the police car near the school for part of the day. There are multiple advantages in this type of traffic control.
First, a police car on or just off Highway 44/Main Street would slow down traffic coming into the congested downtown area of Spring Grove. This is where you WANT to have people driving slowly. It's where pedestrians cross the street as well as where cars stop, park and enter Main Street. It's where accidents happen and people get hurt.
Secondly, parking the police car on the street next to the school serves a free second, dual purpose of protection of the school. I do not propose a police presence "in" the school or even "on the school grounds."
There would be no extra cost to the community for this service. Just more "bang for the buck" from the police employees of the community.
To the extent that someone apparently observed at the council meeting that "the majority of incidents" occur during the evening hours, I would suggest that to an extent the "incidents" occur during the evening hours because that's when the police are on duty.
For example, speeding tickets happen in the evening when the police sit in the evening with radar in the dark on the highway out past the car wash or out east by the grain elevators and catch people 10 miles over the speed limit out there.
No school children are crossing the highway out there at that time of night, but the police get to write a ticket and there is "an incident." Other "incidents" are logged in the evening because that's when people figure the police are on duty and so that's when they report their complaints.
It also appears that evening is when the police come on duty and actually log their complaints.
Again, I don't know the hours of the police schedule, but it seems reasonable that at least some of their hours could overlap with hours that would better serve the community for traffic control and dual-purpose protection of our community and our children instead of for simply writing tickets.
Superintendent Rachel Udstuen and the Spring Grove School Board run the school. They do a good job of it.
My proposal for more efficient traffic control in Spring Grove would probably meet with their approval but they have no obligation to pay for traffic control nor is their approval necessary for my proposals.