Troy policeman says recent Council letter fails to tell actual circumstances
| October 31, 2011 10:39 AM
In a recent Letter to the Editor, the
Troy City Council mentioned that several fliers have been posted
around town that contain incorrect information. I am one of the
three police officers in Troy and have seen these fliers. They were
posted by concerned citizens of Troy trying to educate the public
about what the council is doing.
And every time someone posts one of
these fliers, it gets taken down. It’s obvious that someone doesn’t
support the First Amendment right of freedom of speech in this
The council’s letter is the one
containing misleading information, especially concerning the Troy
Police Department and the Troy animal-control issue.
First, their letter makes it sound like
the Troy Police Department isn’t doing anything by listing only
partial statistics (seven violations and one arrest per month per
officer). This is highly misleading.
In the last 12 months, I alone had 556
case reports and wrote 129 citations. But of course, they didn’t
bother to mention that. They also failed to mention that each one
of these cases involved writing detailed reports which takes a
considerable amount of time.
And did they mention that we also
respond to all EMS calls in the city? These don’t have case
reports, and aren’t included in the statistics.
We also participate in a lot of other
activities that aren’t in the statistics like assisting other law
enforcement agencies and backing them up when needed, conducting
walk-throughs of the local bars, patrolling the city, airport and
forest service, conducting traffic patrol and enforcement,
patrolling the school zones before and after school, conducting
traffic control for special events, working extra DOT shifts during
high-risk times, conducting investigations, checking out suspicious
people and vehicles, conducting VIN inspections on vehicles, finger
printing people and conducting background checks, submitting
reports to the state, conducting the “Eddie the Eagle” and
“Positive Ticket” programs for kids, assisting with alcohol-server
classes, conducting a walk-through of Stein’s Market every night
before they close, and so on. Did the council mention any of this?
Of course they didn’t.
Did they mention that each officer puts
in an extra 20 hours a week of on-call time that we don’t even get
paid for? That is over 3,000 hours a year that we donate to the
city. Each officer is either working or on-call 60 hours a week.
This does not include covering for one another when someone is sick
or on vacation. It also doesn’t include extra shifts for special
events and holidays. It takes five full time officers to provide
24/7 coverage. We are doing it with three. And the council has the
audacity to say that we are not over worked!
The council did NOT mention ANY of
this. They just gave you the distorted statistics that they wanted
you to see, and are trying to make the police department look bad
just to justify their own poor decisions. This is a perfect example
of how this council operates! They don’t have a clue about what
police work entails or what we do.
As far as the number of arrests, yes we
could make a lot more. But there is only one officer on duty at a
time, and every time we make an arrest it takes that officer out of
service for a couple hours or longer.
We make arrests when we need to, but
try to utilize alternatives when available, like cite and release.
This keeps the officer in the city and available for
In a recent article written by the new
city attorney (the one hired by the council despite the hiring
committee’s recommendation) he stated that crime in Troy has
dropped over the last two years and the council feels that the
police department can take over the animal-control duties.
First of all, did they ever stop and
wonder why the crime rate is down? Could it be that Troy now has
three dedicated police officers who actually do their job and get
out and patrol and care about the people?
Secondly, animal control is NOT a
police function. Sure, we will respond if a dangerous animal is
attacking or threatening someone. But we are not trained or
equipped to deal with animals. We don’t have room in our patrol
vehicles for the extra equipment and our vehicles are not designed
for transporting animals.
What do we do if we have an animal in
our patrol vehicle and we need to arrest or transport someone? If
we let the animal go and it bites someone or runs out in traffic
and causes an accident, we would be liable. And do the citizens
really want their ONLY on-duty officer 20 miles away in Libby
transporting a stray cat when they have a REAL police
During the last 12 months, Troy had 242
animal complaints. The council doesn’t think this justifies a part
time animal control officer?
The Troy Police Department has worked
hard to gain the trust and respect of the citizens of Troy (unlike
the council members themselves). We are NOT going to just stand by
and let the council ruin this. We are also NOT going to stand by
while the council blindly reduces the level of police protection
for the citizens of Troy.
The council members listed their
telephone numbers in their letter. I suggest calling them and
telling them how you feel about them providing misleading
information, eliminating animal control and trying to reduce public
safety. The citizens need to set them straight!
— Nathan White