Sometimes, even good cops overreact

Dear Editor,

I'm sorry to read about your attack by a Sawyer County deputy sheriff while you were covering a news story. It's outrageous. I hope you've filed a formal complaint with whatever the governing body is in your county. (Here in Milwaukee, it's the Police and Fire Commission.) They should investigate and discipline the officer.

At the very least, you are owed an apology and the promise of a anger-management course plus a community relations course for the sheriff involved. I hope the Lac Courte Oreilles government formally asks Sawyer County Sheriff's Department for the same.

Our neighborhood block watch in Milwaukee works with the Milwaukee Police Department and our District Safety Coalition. These officers, especially the community liaison officer, are good professionals. But out-of-control officers have to be dealt with from time to time, and that's part of community organizing in the big city.

Sometimes, even good cops overreact. We had police come through the neighborhood once chasing a young man home who ran from a nearby car crash. The police let out the family dog who began chasing them. Rather than try to divert or calm the dog, they shot it. The family was grateful it wasn't their son who was shot. After the scene was secured, I identified myself as working with the Block Watch and asked what happened. Officers are supposed to answer public inquiries once the scene is secure. They refused to answer all questions. They were all looking quite embarassed, standing around the dead dog.

If Deputy Sheriff Knapp had nothing else to be embarassed about in his handling of the car accident at LCO, he should have treated the press inquiry professionally and laid off the brutality to a well-respected reporter/editor.

Rick Whaley, Milwaukee


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