Chief issues statement
To the editor:
The Salem Police Department responds to and investigates many reports from persons, often providing different sides of a same incident. We do the best we can to provide the proper services to all parties. The persons making the reports also have certain responsibilities of their own, including providing known verifiable information and statements.
When appropriate, the Salem Police Department prepares a packet to forward to the prosecutor’s office, who determines if charges may be filed. We follow this step if there is any indication that prosecutable charges are possible.
If charges are to be filed, it is usually the responsibility of the complainant to sign the charge and be prepared to testify in support of the charge. In instances when a complainant has been consuming alcohol, we advise the complainant to return to the police department at a time when they have not been drinking to sign any charges. This requirement greatly reduces the number of cases in which the court is requested to drop a charge that has been filed.
The writer (letter to editor, June 15) stated he had learned the name of the person that assaulted him, but chose not to give it to the police because “they probably won’t do anything anyways.”
If we are provided the identity of a suspect by the victim, and the victim can reasonably verify the suspect’s involvement, we will allow the victim to sign the charge and send that information to the prosecutor for his review, and will file charges if that is the prosecutor’s recommendation. At this time, the writer has not provided us that information.
The Salem Police Department takes our position of trust and responsibility very seriously, and is here to assist and protect the people of Salem whenever and however we can, within the law.
CHIEF R. W. FLOOR,
Salem Police Department
Reaction to another letter
To the editor:
In response to the letter “Doesn’t seem right,” posted June 15, I would appreciate the opportunity to share some understanding of how and why these incidents were handled as they were.
The two “underage boys” were in fact adults not teenagers, each having been identified as being 20 years of age. During the course of the traffic stop there had been no indication of the presence of alcoholic beverages. The only item possibly relevant to the anonymous caller’s tip that the individuals possessed beer underage was a plastic cooler in the bed of the pick-up truck. At that time there was no legal justification to conduct a search of that cooler, which was not accessible to either occupant from within the truck. Upon being advised of the reason they had been pulled over, both men admitted that the cooler did in fact contain beer. Both men had been informed of the legal consequences and the likely arrest they were each facing, however prior to making any arrest, the totality of circumstances was taken into consideration.
Officer discretion was exercised in this matter based on the following facts: The individual’s actions had not posed any danger to the public nor themselves; there was no drunk driving involved; no open container had been observed; no statement could be obtained from the complainant who had remained anonymous; and the only evidence of the presence of the beer was the verbal admissions of the suspects.
They were escorted to the Salem Police Department where, in the officer’s presence, they disposed of the beer in the garbage dumpster and apologized for the incident. Were it not for the men’s truth and honesty, probable cause for an arrest would not have existed and they would have been able to continue on their way still in possession of the concealed beer.
Being truthful and honest is not likely to prevent a person from being arrested if they break the law, but in some instances it can affect the severity and number of charges they are facing as well as the punishment they receive when convicted of a crime.
In this instance honesty was only a part of the total equation that weighed in favor of a warning being more appropriate than an arrest. In hindsight this incident would not have been handled any differently.
Moving on to the unrelated seat belt citation. As indicated in the arresting officer’s report he had established the following facts: The suspect vehicle had been observed speeding in a residential neighborhood mid-day and had been locked on radar well in excess of the 25 mph speed limit. The driver had not been wearing a seat belt and had failed to present a license, registration and proof of insurance upon the officer’s request.
The driver also reportedly indicated that the vehicle’s speedometer did not work. As noted in the preceding facts there were multiple violations including speeding, seatbelt, failure to display a driver’s license or proof of insurance and faulty speedometer. However, the police officer exercised his discretion and he was obviously very fair and generous to the driver considering that he only issued the driver a citation for the seat belt violation.
So why does one person get a warning while another person does not? Because of the police officer’s discretion based on the totality of the circumstances.
What a police officer knows is not nearly as important as what he can prove. Factors are considered, such as: did the offense endanger the offender, the public or property, were there victims or witnesses, was there damage or injury, how when and where did it happen, how did the police become involved, what evidence existed, what were the demeanors of the persons involved, was the suspect honest or deceptive, how severe was the offense (was a speeder 10 mph over the speed limit or were they 20 mph over)? These are only a few examples of the many factors that can contribute to a police officer’s discretion in how a given situation will be resolved.
While some of you may still have an opinion that it “Doesn’t seem right” I hope that my insight into these incidents has afforded some knowledge and understanding of why an arrest or citation does or does not always result in a given situation.
Police officer discretion is an important aspect of law enforcement and an arrest or citation may or may not be the most appropriate solution depending on the circumstances at hand.
Try not to judge or form an opinion of a police officer’s actions until you have been presented with all of the facts that pertain to that particular incident. It is unfortunate that we only seem to see the negative views of the police reflected in these letters to the editor, because there are many instances of police officers that regularly go above and beyond to help others that remain shrouded from public awareness.
How do I know these things you might ask — because I am a police officer. Thank you for taking the time to read my letter.
Responds to editorial
To the editor:
I write in response to the Salem News editorial “Statewide sick leave mandate a bad idea.” Contrary to the editor’s claims The Ohio Healthy Families Act would benefit Ohio’s economy and its families’ health.
When workers are forced to come to work sick they run the risk of infecting others which hurts the productivity businesses count on for profitability. How much did it cost the Mexican grill in Kent this past April when over 400 people got sick from a norovirus spread to its customers?
Also healthcare expenses are increased when employees neglect or delay treatment of illnesses for fear of losing their job or their pay. These facts are well known to the majority of employers who know their employees earn these benefits every day.
Furthermore, of the employees who currently have such benefits, more than 50 percent never take a single day in the year, according to the bureau of labor statistics. To imply that all the others who need this basic labor standard will cheat is insulting.
Finally The Ohio Healthy Families Act is fair. If executives and politicians enjoy this standard employment arrangement, how will allowing regular workers to earn it harm our economy? No one can schedule when they’re going to get sick. To pretend otherwise is foolishness. Hard working Ohioans, who produce profits for their employers, deserve the dignity paid sick days would provide!
Suggestion for BOE
To the editor:
It would appear that the present Salem Board of Education and the current superintendent (temporary and not inclined to permanency) have made great strides in settling down and smoothing over the problems that beset the prior administrations dating back to, I don’t know, eight or 10 years anyway. Through their combined effort they have even, apparently, balanced the budget, no small feat indeed!
The current euphoric atmosphere is heady stuff and making a change will be difficult and time consuming. Making a radical change is just what I am going to suggest; I refer to the replacement of the temporary superintendent who has said repeatedly that he does not want a full time position and has taken that stand for several years now.
My suggestion is this: in all probability there will never be a more opportune moment to get really serious about joining with another school district with the goal of combining the upper management personnel under one managing head. There have been recent news articles addressing just these kinds of management efforts and describing the benefits of such unions.
One can imagine the reduction of duplicate administrative positions and the monetary savings associated with just such an alliance; why do we need two superintendents, two treasurers, etc., the beauty of our situation, having no permanent superintendent, provides the perfect situation.
We can take the time to look into those other superintendents in our neighboring districts and work with their board’s of education and see if there are reasons enough for them to join such a union. It is a rare month to see no mention of one of our nearby school districts without financial concerns for their future mentioned in the local papers.nI believe it is the right time to call in the Ohio State governing body for education, requesting their assistance in pursuing this endeavor.
The Salem BOE will not only benefit greatly from a financial viewpoint but could become a beacon for future considerations from other school districts.
This is my position: what say you?
JOHN F. REID,
Golf benefit a success
To the editor:
The 10th annual Salem Athletic Booster Club Golf Tournament was held on Friday, June 6, at the Salem Golf Club.
This tournament serves as a major fund-raising event for the Booster Club. Proceeds are used to provide two $ 1,000 scholarships given annually to deserving graduating student athletes. Proceeds are also used to help support all athletic teams at Salem High School.
A full field of 108 golfers enjoyed a beautiful day filled with great golf, fellowship, and plenty of fun. Four teams finished the day with a score of 13 under par, and the winning team in a scorecard playoff was the team of Fred Barkley, Jim Meissner, Stan Czeck, Walt Landis, Dan Michael, and Randy Bilkie. Second place went to the team of John Pridon, Josh Pridon, Josh Randolph, Bob Hall, and Bob Miller. Proximity winners included Johnny Grim, Jim Lutz, Jim Armeni, Linda Muckleroy, Bob Miller, Dan Cvzrcko, Brian Stabler, Bill Mullane, and Linda Cope.
The Booster Club is extremely grateful for the outstanding response and financial support received by all who participated in our event.
We acknowledge the contributions provided by Stadium GM Superstore for sponsoring the hole in one insurance. We appreciate the special sponsorship provided by Butech Bliss.
We are thankful for the contributions from Gordon Brothers, Salem Giant Eagle, Salem Sparkle Market, Salem Wal-Mart, and InstaCopy. The Salem Golf Club and Mike Shulas, PGA Professional provided donations.
We really appreciate the generosity of our hole sponsors: Bob Sebo, Butech Bliss, Butler Wick & Co., Castruction Company Refractories CCR, Farmers Bank, Jesko Associates, Julian Electric Service, Matthew Yerkey, DDS, Inc., Morris Financial Group, MS Consultants Engineers, Architects, & Planners, Quaker City Castings, Salem Community Center – Center Circle Salem Indoor Sports Complex, Salem Drug, Summitville Tiles, Inc., and Wendy’s Management Group.
Members of Salem High School sports teams provided assistance during the day and we thank them for their help.
We sincerely appreciate the local businesses and individuals who each year have sponsored teams, hole sponsors or have played in our event.
We offer a sincere thank you to those who participated for the first time this year.
We hope you will join us on Friday, June 5, 2009, for our 11th annual golf tournament.
Salem Athletic Booster Club Golf Committee
To the editor:
Thank you for the wonderful article about our local Marine recruiters. I want to say thank you to all of them for doing a great job.
Isn’t it wonderful that we live in a town where these young men are treated with respect? Not like the places where they are picketed or yelled at or have obscene gestures shown to them.
I don’t know about the rest of the citizens of Salem but I like going to bed at night knowing we are guarded by the world’s finest doing what they were hired to do. Thank you Marines ... Semper Fi ... ooohrahhhh Parris Island Class of 58.
I would like to add a note to the poolies though ... once they finish Parris Island they will never be the same and will belong to a brotherhood that is like no other. If they are out and have on a ball cap, a shirt, a tattoo or anything that shows they are Marines, I can guarantee that if there is another Marine in the area he will make himself known. We are Marines forever .
Reacts to Bolon’s bill
To the editor:
I am writing in response to an article about Rep. Bolon, in which she is sponsoring a bill to the state house seeking to create an office at the attorney general’s to enforce consumer recalls.
This is the most irresponsible legislation I can think of.
First and foremost, this is already required under federal law. It is also in the best interest of the retailers to comply with recall notices in a timely and efficient manor to prevent civil lawsuits.
Secondly, she has proposed this legislation without supporting how this effort was to be paid for.
Do we really need another redundant state program that costs us tax dollars, but provides no tangible benefit to us taxpayers?
The irresponsibility doesn’t end there. This proposed bill was inspired by Rep. Bolon’s daughter after she read an article. Is this how our state government works? Because of an article, we now may have to pay for this redundant program?
I know the sensational stories regarding tainted toys from China scares all of us parents, but a state recall agency wouldn’t prevent an Ohio child from being exposed or cause an Ohio retailer to pull the item any sooner.
I hope that this sensationally scare tactic can be seen as what it is, an attempt to increase the size of government at our expense without giving us any real benefit.
CHRISTOPHER M. WALTERS,
Safety and fireworks
To the editor:
The fireworks-related injuries dropped more than 15 percent from 2005 to 2006, bringing the rate of injuries per 100,000 pounds of fireworks used to an all-time low according to information released by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Consumer.
Since 1992, the actual number of fireworks-related injuries has been reduced by over 26 percent.
This becomes an amazing statistic when you consider that in 2006 the amount of fireworks used in America as measured by the volume of imported fireworks was more than three times what was used in 1992, rising from 87.1 million pounds to over 278 million pounds.
From 1992 to 2006, the raw number of estimated fireworks-related injuries dropped from 12,500 to 9,200.
Based on injuries per 100,000 pounds of fireworks used, the rate of injuries has dropped over 76 percent during this period from 14.3 per 100,000 pounds to 3.3 per 100,000 pounds.
Add to this information the fact that some 35 percent of the reported injuries are from products other than consumer fireworks (illegal explosives, unspecified devices, professional fireworks and homemade or altered devices), and the statistics are even more dramatic.
There is no other industry involving products with some risk associated with them that can boast of such astounding success in controlling and reducing the product-related injuries.
It is an accepted fact that with most products when use increases, there is a corresponding increase in associated product injuries.
From 1989 to 2006 when there was a 437 percent increase in use of all-terrain vehicles, there was a 457 percent increase in ATV-related injuries.
From 1989 to 1998 when there was a 350 percent increase in trampoline sales, there was a 98 percent increase in trampoline-related injuries.
The best most industries can hope for when product use rises is a reduction in the rate of increase of the product-related injuries, but there is still a significant increase in injuries. Only with fireworks when there is a major increase in use is there an actual decrease in injuries, and a very substantial decrease at that.
Fireworks opponents try to undermine the public’s confidence in consumer fireworks by citing the single-year number of fireworks-related injuries, but fail to put the injuries in the context of the increase in use of the products or the year-to-year reduction in the number of injuries.
The tradition of celebrating Independence Day and freedom with fireworks is ingrained in the very soul of our country. There is nothing more strongly associated with the tradition of Independence Day than fireworks, and this has been the case since the founding of our nation.
Former President John Adams predicted in 1776 in a letter to his wife, Abigail, that Independence Day “ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade...bonfires and illuminations (fireworks) from one end of this continent to the other, from this day forward forevermore.”
Fireworks provide the citizens of this state and this nation a means to demonstrate their freedoms. We celebrate Independence Day today as John Adams predicted, with illuminations or fireworks and the modern day equivalent of bonfires—family cook-outs. America loves her fireworks.
Please enjoy Independence Day with your family and celebrate safely.
WILLIAM A. WEIMER,