PTC police work hard to keep people safe

Dean Fryer’s letter in The Citizen (June 26) trashing the Peachtree City Police Department simply cannot go unchallenged.

Shame on you, Dean Fryer.

By department policy, rank and file members of the Peachtree City Police Department cannot defend themselves in the media from your letter to The Citizen last week, but I can.

I am one of several volunteer (unpaid) trained and certified police chaplains who serve the Peachtree City Police Department.

It’s a tough, but very rewarding job. Not many people know that police officers have suicide rates, on the job death and injury rates and divorce rates near the top of all professions. The average cop stays in law enforcement for only six years.

For the past 10 years of so I and the other chaplains have logged hundreds of hours riding with our men and women in blue in what must be the most uncomfortable passenger seats of any vehicle on the planet. That’s okay — a chaplain can be a huge help to a 25-year-old officer who needs someone to just listen as he/she patrols at 2 a.m. when the city is quiet.

Most police work in Peachtree City is simple traffic enforcement (thank God), an attempt to keep our roads and streets safe for the people who live, work and visit Peachtree City. Thankfully, we don’t have many murders or bank robberies or even break-ins, for that matter. The bad guys mostly avoid Peachtree City (so far at least) like the plague. That’s in large part because of our excellent police force.

My typical ride-along with an officer involves mostly traffic stops like that which happened to you, Mr. Fryer. Most people don’t know that all officers wear microphones at all times and any stops result in the entire incident being broadcast back to the squad car and recorded in case it is later needed in court.

As I’ve sat in the squad car and listened in over the years, by far most people who are stopped are respectful of the officer, readily admit they were wrong and receive their citation, if one is forthcoming, with no joy, but with a grudging thanksgiving that there is indeed a “thin blue line” of officers who stand between them and the bad guys and those who would make the streets of Peachtree City like the Indianapolis 500.

For your information, Mr. Fryer, the PTC PD also gives out lots and lots of “courtesy citations.”

A few people, on the other hand, have an “attitude.” Sitting in the squad car, I’ve heard comments very similar to those you make in your letter, Mr. Fryer. I’ve heard people say, “Why aren’t you out chasing crooks?” Or, ”you don’t know who I am, do you? My wife works for the city.” Or, ”I’m a taxpayer and I pay your salary, mister,” to name just a few.

Mr. Fryer, you show you have a similar attitude to those same kind of comments when you say in your letter to The Citizen, you’d “like to think the PTC PD is catching bank robbers, drug dealers from Atlanta, or the burglars from Clayton County, instead of harassing citizens like me.”

Frankly, if you exhibited that same kind of in your face attitude to the officer who stopped you, that just might be why you got the ticket, instead of the “courtesy citation.”

Well, Mr. Fryer, I have good news for you. You and those you love can rest easily in your bed tonight because Peachtree City has one of the lowest crime rates in the entire country and very few serious traffic injuries or traffic deaths to boot, thanks to our fine police force and the vast majority of people who, unlike you, obey the speed laws, both when they see a cop and when they don’t.

As a matter of fact, the officers you denigrate in your letter to The Citizen may just be the same ones who possibly tomorrow will be there to give you life-saving CPR at the scene of a horrific traffic accident. Or who will rush to your home risking life and limb at 3 a.m. when you call 911 because you “hear a noise” downstairs. Or who will check on your home daily (when requested) when you are away on vacation.

You imply in your letter that the PTC PD is all about “collecting,” … all about “feeding on us.” and all about, “waiting on us, to nail us and raise money.” For your information, every cent collected in PTC in traffic fines goes into the city’s general account and as such helps defray the cost of all city services … including the police department.

Basically, going back to ancient times, and today as well in all civilized countries, the fine you were assessed helped keep taxes for the rest of us a little lower. Thank you so very much for your kind contribution, Mr. Fryer. All of us appreciate your gift to the city. The rest of us are paying enough taxes as it is.

Lastly, Mr. Fryer, you decry the fact that, as you say, the officer who stopped you was “hiding behind a bush … lying in wait around a curve.” Your letter makes it pretty clear that you think that isn’t right or fair. Well, what the rest of us are instead hearing you say is that, “I don’t want any cops sneaking around to keep me from willfully breaking the law and speeding whenever I want to. If I know the cops are behind a bush, I won’t break the speed limit, but if I know they aren’t there, then I will … so all cops should always stay out in the open where I can see ‘em.”

Whatever happened to the old American adage that, “all of us should all obey all the laws, all the time, whether anyone is looking or not … whether there’s a cop there or not?

I for one, without apology, thank God for all of our men and women in blue.

Paul Massey
Fayetteville, Ga.