Mon07282014

Letters to the Editor

Say thanks to Los Altos officers

My wife and I wanted to take a moment – as we all should – to say thank you to the officers of the Los Altos Police Department.

Recently they were in our home upon the passing of a family member. Their humanity, grace and compassion were exceeded only by their professional manner and wise counsel. We will be forever grateful.

These men and women who protect and serve us in our worst of times deserve our gratitude. The next time you see an officer, say thanks.

Michael and Tonya Levy

(No address given)

Residents’ participation key to safe cities

In my years of policing, I’ve worked in neighborhoods of both high and low socioeconomic statuses, in areas saturated with crime and in areas where the greatest problem was speeding cars.

Why are cities like Los Altos Hills, Cupertino and Saratoga considered safe, and why do they enjoy a relatively low crime rate? The one thing that always sticks out in safe neighborhoods is residents’ willingness to call sheriff’s deputies or police.

People who live in safe neighborhoods talk to their neighbors. They observe what is normal and what is out of place, and they recognize that problems for their neighbors may mean problems for themselves in the future. But most of all, they call when they notice something just isn’t right.

The vast majority of crimes we solve are the ones the public tells us about and then follows up with more information. The mission of public safety is and always would be impossible without the public’s help and participation.

Residents of safe neighborhoods call their local police and sheriff’s deputies, and report what they see. They don’t assume that someone else will do it. They call because they both care about their community and they believe that the police will be able to help. Safe communities have police officers available to respond to calls for service.

Therein lies the successful partnership: The people trust the police, and there are sufficient police resources to take action when called upon – the partnership is healthy.

Society is poorly served when either side of the equation is unbalanced.

No calls from the public means that police won’t know about a problem until it’s too late. No police response reinforces the belief that the police can do nothing for them.

Public participation is the reason deputies have a higher rate than most in identifying and arresting people burglarizing homes. There really isn’t anything special we do differently than any other police department.

Consider that you ultimately decide what is important and what should or should not be done in your community.

You decide what you report to the police. You decide by telling the police where they can do a better job. The police show you that they understand by enforcing the law equally, limited only by the resources given to them, earning the public’s trust and being held accountable when wrong.

These are the principles we stress to members of the Deputy Sheriffs’ Association of Santa Clara County.

Roger Winslow

Vice president Deputy Sheriffs’ Association of Santa Clara County

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