EDITORIAL: We deserve the best
Whether it’s the talk of which direction the school district will take in providing protection for its students and campuses, recent political comments by police officers, or the President who is complaining that the FBI may have surveilled his campaign outside of its Russian election interference issues—one thing for sure is that law enforcement officers have a lot of power.
If the President and his supporters believe the FBI acted under color of law to attempt a political outcome, then that must be investigated just as a foreign interference must be. In fact, this country stands tall in its long held belief that the enforcement of the law is benign, that the investigation of crime and subsequent enforcement of the law is without any political or religious or cultural bias.
In America, policing stands higher than temporary political victories. That’s why police officers aren’t elected to hold their office. In fact, it’s why the entire City Manager form of local government was created. In Texas, we strive to keep politics out of public services, especially the dispensation of justice.
The education of our law enforcement officers should be uniform just as every officer is required continual training under the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement and is required to qualify with a weapon every year and those results must be available to their employers and to the public to prove their fitness for duty, complete with witnesses with penalty for perjury. Officers hold our lives in their hands. That’s why it’s so important to continue to gain the trust of those who pay their salaries. Local politics cannot play a role in the enforcement of the law.
The decision on whether the Liberty Hill Independent School District chooses to form a separate police department or enter into an agreement with another political subdivision rests solely with the elected board members. The parents, taxpayers and voters have differing opinions on how it should be handled. Now is the time for those folks to continue sharing their views about police in schools, drug tests for students and everything in between. The schools belong to all of us collectively and we will all bear responsibility for the end result of our decisions.
Our readers have strong opinions as well, which they are welcomed to share. One thing we can all agree on—we do not want to see a repeat of the tragedy suffered by our fellow Texans in Santa Fe last week.
Regardless of all the differing opinions on the safeguards that we believe should have been in place—children are dead at the hands of one of their fellow classmates.
In Santa Fe, a student was able to obtain legally held weapons from a parent and murder 10 students, intend to kill another 10, and attempted to kill the police officer who ultimately stopped the carnage.
It could have happened here.
The parents of Santa Fe are no less good, God-fearing, children-loving folks than we are.
Now that we have a window into the mind of those who want to use murder as a permanent solution into the everyday wounds of being a teenager, we need to look closely at legitimate, sequential ways to limit danger. Those who take this time to argue about Second Amendment rights or banning guns are wasting valuable time. We all know what we do not wish to happen. With that in mind, we must express our opinions to our leaders, who are also our neighbors, and we must trust in their steady, measured judgement to protect our most valuable resource and our biggest investment.
We deserve the best
A word or two about the kind of officer who took the shooter alive.
The officer had recently retired from the largest law enforcement agency in Texas — Houston PD. He had come back home to where he lived and where his wife is a teacher and his child is a student.
That is the perfect recipe for someone with skin in the game. We do not know how that officer voted, we do not know if he loved his mayor. Instead, we know he had served honorably for over 25 years in the same big city department, facing danger in the 4th largest city in America. This officer didn’t travel across the country or the state, going from job to job, one step ahead of his last termination. This officer ran toward gunfire knowing full well the consequences. We are thankful he lived.
In this one example and moment Liberty Hill ISD can clearly see the kind of officers it needs to recruit and keep.
As officers are recruited, serving and retiring at earlier ages in Texas, there are lots of experienced law enforcement officers who already live in our community, pay taxes and are highly invested here. Perhaps LHISD needs to seek out officers who have actually faced danger and come to the job with a real lifetime of experience.
Being a local law enforcement officer is serious business. Liberty Hill citizens deserve fair, unbiased and sober protection.
All others need not apply.