12-hour police shifts should be reinstated

Posted: Wednesday, April 12, 2006

I would like to reply to a letter written by Donna Goutermont ("Not pleased with police work, living in fear," March 26) that the Empire had the bad taste to publish.

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I wish to respond to the vitriolic comments about the 12-hour shifts. Do you work in a job where, because of your shift, you have missed most of your child's activities and important events? Are you not seeing your husband except for a few hours on the weekend because you work the "normal" Monday through Friday, 8-to-5 job, but your husband works 4 p.m. to midnight? You have no right to comment until you have experienced this yourself.

The shortage of officers caused by the eight-hour shifts may play a part in them having no time to hold your hand while they are investigating the cases, but I am sure this does not affect the quality and integrity of the work done by the officers of the Juneau Police Department.

You have insulted many fine, professional men and women. If you knew a police officer, you would know that there is nothing more rewarding to most of them than taking part in successful police work - no bigger reward than "getting the bad guy." Since I cannot imagine that they are releasing any information regarding the investigations, how can you possibly know that it is a "lackadaisical investigative approach?"

You ask why they are not taking fingerprints at the scene. You may recall, in the CSI shows you watch, that the surfaces they fingerprint are smooth and usually recently cleaned by a cleaning staff. Does that describe where you want the fingerprinting done? I suspect, if it had been or there were fingerprints, they would have been processed.

You complain that your property has not been recovered. Perhaps this is a good time to remind people to take pictures and know the registration numbers of their property, as insurance companies encourage us to do. And of course, the property can leave the city! Neither the police nor you can look at everything that goes on an airplane, every box shipped out of here, nor every car on the ferry.

You say you feel unsafe. Perhaps if we had the officers we had when there were 12-hour shifts, you would feel less so. What the eight-hour shift has done is taken officers off the street. As anticipated, many fine officers have left. Ex-chief Gummow and the city administration were warned that this would happened, that the community would bear the cost. Perhaps you should contact the city manager and administration about keeping more officers, by implementing the 12-hour shifts.

Eleanor Vinson


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