Our Police: Like Andy Taylor, or the Gestapo?

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Neck-aint-red
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Our Police: Like Andy Taylor, or the Gestapo?

Postby Neck-aint-red » 2008 Dec 09 11:14

I have been hearing grumbling lately about the police in Lexington and Rockbridge going nuts with power and arrogance, jackbooted swat attacks over trivial matters, harassing citizens, grabbing public and other moneys to grow their bureaucracies including jails without end, etc.

Is this true? Do you have any stories from your own experience that either support or refute this growing perception?

PS. I was amused at this prank aimed at the police. Serves them right!

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Coondog
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Re: Our Police: Like Andy Taylor, or the Gestapo?

Postby Coondog » 2008 Dec 09 20:32

What? Never! Folks around these parts know better than to imply such nonsense.

Coondog :naughty:

Don't Taze Me, Bro!

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Amy Probenski
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Re: Our Police: Like Andy Taylor, or the Gestapo?

Postby Amy Probenski » 2008 Dec 10 07:42

I have no personal experience to relate, although on three occasions I have seen cop cars in Lexington, flashing blue lights, and more commotion than I've seen before in my years around here over what appeared each time to be really small stuff.

Did you see the latest Rockbridge Advocate? There's a related story there that kind of curls your hair. If there is anything to this, we have to put a stop to it right now before it gets worse.

Veeferguy

Re: Our Police: Like Andy Taylor, or the Gestapo?

Postby Veeferguy » 2008 Dec 10 14:43

I'll have to agree with Amy and the Rockbridge Advocate on this one. I think every car should have the number "1984" in plain sight for all to see.

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Wise One
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Stop Building Jails! (Rockbridge and the entire US)

Postby Wise One » 2008 Dec 14 12:01

America is the "land of the free"? Not!
Jacob Sullum; on December 12, 2008 wrote:New Incarceration Record

According to a Bureau of Justice Statistics report (PDF) released yesterday, 2.3 million Americans were behind bars in 2007, 1.5 percent more than in 2006 and a new record. The number includes about 780,000 people in local jails, 1.4 million in state prisons, and 200,000 in federal prison. Roughly one in five state prisoners and more than half of federal prisoners were serving time for drug offenses. Assuming the percentage of drug offenders in jails is similar to the percentage in state prisons, the total is more than half a million. "That is ten times the total in 1980," notes the Drug Policy Alliance, "and more than all of western Europe (with a much larger population) incarcerates for all offenses."

Image
"If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like Donald Trump."

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Amy Probenski
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Re: Our Police: Like Andy Taylor, or the Gestapo?

Postby Amy Probenski » 2009 Jan 16 14:56

Since somebody started this topic, I've been paying attention. It seems that we have a real problem with the Lexington Police Department that really needs to have light shined on it. And fixed.

People say that the Southern Inn on Main Street is a favorite police target. Basically, Lexington police sit waiting for people to pay their checks and leave the restaurant. They then accost patrons leaving the Southern Inn for the purpose of charging them with "public drunkenness", in the absence of either poor behavior or a complaint. I don't know whether they have a grudge against the owner of that restaurant, or if nabbing innocent patrons is simply easier than responsible policing.

Elderly acquaintances tell me that they fear driving home from bridge club with the ladies, and from church meetings, so many of them having been stopped needlessly by Lexington police. Lexington's is getting a reputation as a crude southern stereotype, the home of a police department with dumb, cruel bubba cops.

So I say to you all, pay attention and get involved. When you see Lexington police harassing citizens, stop and photograph/video everything. Record audio if you can. Try to speak with the victims after the incident and, if you think it is appropriate, complain loudly and visibly to the Mayor, the city council, to all newspapers, and to the Attorney General of Virginia.

Report your experiences here, in detailed postings on this Forum.

There is no excuse for police thuggery in Lexington, and we cannot afford the dollar cost of lost commerce because Lexington has become infamous for its out-of-control police department.

:sad:

Truckie

Re: Our Police: Like Andy Taylor, or the Gestapo?

Postby Truckie » 2009 Jan 30 12:55

............ I'm very hesitant to resurrect this thread. I felt the need to though.

The Lexington police are a professional group of men and women. I know them from the inside and in ways only a few others around these parts do. Make no mistake, you're lucky to have the LPD protecting the town. Most are well educated officers that actually have concern for your wellfare. The LPD is fairly well equipped.

Have some mistakes been made? I think so. One must comment however, "aren't mistakes made everywhere?" Is this a fault of the LPD? Some of it probably is, yes. Some is a likely a sign of the times and the downslide of society.

How many of us report to a job where just about everyone encountered has the potential to commit violence against us? Heck in the times of today, this is more a probability than a "maybe." Yes, even in lil ole LexVegas... just not the part most of us are accustomed to and know about.

Are there a couple of 'possibly' over zealous officers... officers that would blend in well, say in Philly but, not to the taste of a small town touting itself in check? Likely there are but, even they are professionals concerned with properly doing their job.

Some of you may or may not recall the days when the LPD would as soon help thieves carry out your stuff; a few were even the ones doing so. Even then, there were good cops on our streets. Those days of yore are long gone and we all can be thankful.

We tend not to be outraged or even notice the drunk driver visiting our community... until they crash into someone we know. We feel the drunken student harmless until he/she gets struck by a car. Or as often occurs, climbs in a car and wraps it around a tree, taking two of three friends with them... or one to three of us for that matter. Or ends up in the ED with alcohol posioning, only to have their high powered attorney daddy blaming everyone but, his kid. The LPD knows this and lives it for you.

Is there a certain finesse to policing a small city? Certainly. Should a couple of the LPD officers attend that class? Likely. Should we condemn the entire force and what it and they do for us because we feel that there are a couple of incidents against the grain of small town living? NOT.

I am totally in favor of keeping our police, the system and any actions toward and untoward, in check. Striking me funny is that heavy handed and prolific policing is usually a principle of liberalism... their demeanor that the government should take care of all things... that additional and aggressive police keep society and the individual safe. Yet, when these same police give the sweet lil ole lady a speeding ticket or stand up to drunken students, they're then vilified. The balance is hard to strike. Rest assured though, most of the LPD officers strike it quite well.

There are many factors that have changed the face of our police department and of policing in general. Not all of them, actually very few of them, may we attribute to or even parallel to "jack booted thugs." The LPD is a young force. Many grew up around these parts. The City pushes them to be "productive." The lawyers investigate and scrutinize their every move and action. One factor is they're highly motivated and trained officers, yet their activity is low (yeah, read boredom)... not an excuse by any means but, likely a factor.

Keep your police in check to be sure. But, respect that they are working for your safety, riding your avenue while you sleep... and cut them a little break.

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Neck-aint-red
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Re: Our Police: Like Andy Taylor, or the Gestapo?

Postby Neck-aint-red » 2009 Jan 30 16:07

Thanks, all you guys, for your comments on this question.

I guess I'm left believing we have at least a small problem, and only possibly a larger one. The best advice might be to watch very, very carefully just in case this problem starts to get away from us.

Thanks to the Rockbridge Advocate's story, and some chatter on this Forum, we can only hope that the police are newly sensitive to both their own problem officers and to the fact that the public is now watching them with a more wary eye.

If we are lucky, the police will "police" themselves and this problem will go away. But let's don't assume this is the case until we know for sure ... keep your eyes wide open and scream if it should become necessary.

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Wise One
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America the Jailer

Postby Wise One » 2009 Mar 28 23:54

It is so nice finally to have a good Senator from Virginia!
There are only two possibilities here: either we have the most evil people on earth living in the United States; or we are doing something dramatically wrong in terms of how we approach the issue of criminal justice.

James Webb is a man of intelligence and conviction, a person with the courage needed to turn around this "throw everybody in jail" mentality. Few other politicians have the strengthen of character to stand up to the jailer industry and resist the basest instinct of the mob.

:clap:
"If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like Donald Trump."

resigned

Re: Our Police: Like Andy Taylor, or the Gestapo?

Postby resigned » 2009 Mar 30 19:51

Good article, I agree with what Webb is trying to do. I didn't realize until recently how many we put in prison and that we have more than many other countries. I also understand that there are many illegal immigrants in prison. Why can't they send them back to their country. Furthermore, I just saw on TV that those from other countries who commit crimes after serving time in prison are transferred back to their country of orgin. Unless the crime is significantly serious I don't see why they can't send these people back to their country by passing prison.

I just saw on the news that some of those at Gitmo are going to be sent to the prison at Arlington, Va. According to the interview with the Sheriff of the prison, they are kept separately and under different rules than the other prisoners. Therefore they need more space etc for each prisoner will already strain the resources.

Anyway what a sad commentary on our country.

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Wise One
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Re: Our Police: Like Andy Taylor, or the Gestapo?

Postby Wise One » 2009 Jun 07 13:24

Now HERE'S a police force! Lexington cops, take note.

[youtube]vWF4x01MkzE[/youtube]

Do we have to move to Denmark to find "good guys" wearing uniforms?
"If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like Donald Trump."

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Amy Probenski
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Re: Our Police: Like Andy Taylor, or the Gestapo?

Postby Amy Probenski » 2009 Jun 10 17:21

Here is another data point on this issue. I am seeing more and more negative stuff about the police and have yet to find a person who thinks that we are being well served by hotheads who seem only to be interested in strutting around in power displays and driving in their hermetically sealed police cruisers, harassing citizens for no good reason.

While the individual policemen may be also at fault, this fish mainly stinks from the head. It would seem that none of the following parties are yet willing to do their duty and assert responsible control over our police:
  • Police Chief
  • Mayor
  • City Council
The News-Gazette wrote:June 8, 2009
Editor:

Last week my family concluded a 12 year run of children at Washington and Lee. In addition, I graduated from the college in 1975. I would be remiss if I did not write and thank the citizens of the Lexington and Rockbridge County for making the stay most enjoyable.

W&L has a great legacy of its own, but it is also coupled with good citizens who take care in understanding the role of the students and parents in this college town. With very few exceptions, every person that I have dealt with has been a pleasure. The stores, the churches, the innkeepers, everyone has been very good to us.

The only exception to this is the police department. None of my children were ever in trouble. However, on more than one occasion they were harassed by the police. I believe they have a job to do and must do it. No one should drive fast, or drink and drive. However, for people that are doing the right thing, there is no reason for this harassment.

We wish all of your readers well. We will miss Lexington, the people and the area.

LEE EAGAN
New Orleans, La.

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Coondog
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Re: Our Police: Like Andy Taylor, or the Gestapo?

Postby Coondog » 2009 Jun 10 18:54

Well.........it's not an 'either...or' proposition.

Some fall into the first category. Some fall into the last. The number of times for each is countless.

Coondog :police:

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Wise One
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Re: Our Police: Like Andy Taylor, or the Gestapo?

Postby Wise One » 2009 Jul 06 18:04

The Rockbridge Advocate just arrived in my mailbox, with the front page headline"City cop concerns cause mayor to call for confab."

The Mayor has taken the responsible step of providing the citizens of Lexington with a forum to discuss whether there is, or is not, a problem with the city's police. 7 PM, August 2, in the county administration building, one hour. Plan to attend, and speak your mind based on your own experiences.

This is a really helpful step, and Mimi Elrod is to be commended. I have no way of knowing how it will turn out, but I think this sets the stage for much better behavior and a more positive attitude by our police.

:tiphat:
"If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like Donald Trump."

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loverockbridge
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Re: Our Police: Like Andy Taylor, or the Gestapo?

Postby loverockbridge » 2009 Jul 06 19:22

Although I agree Lexington cops need to do some PR repair, I recently had a very nice encounter with a couple who stopped me for having an expired inspection sticker, but then just gave me a warning to get it taken care of. I am a long-time resident so maybe that counted, I don't know. But I wanted to give them a nod of thanks. :salut:

cksmith

LPD KEEP OFF GRASS

Postby cksmith » 2009 Jul 16 21:21

When you drive into Lexington from north 11 cross the Maury river, on the right is a welcome sign and a flower garden that we the tax payers pay for. (not complaining it looks nice) but on the left side the grass is gone. The shape of a car, a police car that sits there so often it's killed the grass in several spots.

Before the new bridge was built the speed limit was right to be 35 mph because of the intersection. Now it should be 45 mph to match a few hundred feet in each direction. So LPD Keep Off Grass!!!

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notwaldo
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Re: Our Police: Like Andy Taylor, or the Gestapo?

Postby notwaldo » 2009 Jul 29 09:15

The city council discussion about the coppers has been postponed until September 3 at 7 p.m. If you show up on August 2 you may be met by a squad of police dressed for battle, but council will not be there to hand out get out of jail for free cards. Exactly why the two weeklies did not print that tidbit....or anything else regarding the meeting, is a bit of a mystery. News of the meeting is contained in the city manager's weekly report which can be found on the city's website.

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Trend Setter
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Police Chief Resigns

Postby Trend Setter » 2009 Aug 21 12:03

Well, ain't this interesting?

I'm looking forward to attending Mimi's public meeting on police issues Thursday September 3, at 7 pm.

But there's a problem. I don't know if the reporter is inaccurate or if Mimi is misguided, but the last paragraph suggests that bad news is unwelcome and the sole purpose of the meeting is to tell the public the police are right and shut up dammit and look forward (ignore police misbehavior.)

My advice? Ignore such bullshit, go to the meeting and speak your mind regarding your experiences with the police, and do not allow yourself to be flattened by "see no evil" bureaucrats.

:thumdwn:

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Coondog
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Re: Our Police: Like Andy Taylor, or the Gestapo?

Postby Coondog » 2009 Aug 21 15:44

go to the meeting and speak your mind regarding your experiences with the police

Well, Trendy One, Mimi also reminds us this is NOT a public hearing. Presumably, it is for the representatives of enforcement to explain why it is they do what they do.

You may not complain about being stopped for "weaving", either while walking or driving, or being given the third degree for driving at dusk with only your parking lights on, or for being beaten senseless for your negative attitude (should you have one).....but, they'll tell you why they did it.......presumably. Also, they'll take your picture, take your name and you'll be lucky to make it back home without a pronounced limp. Likely as not, you'll end up in Guantanamo!

Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see if actuall concerns are addressed....or if it's just a dog and pony show. Me? I won't be anywhere near the place.

Coondog :angel5:

Law abiding citizen

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Wise One
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Re: Our Police: Like Andy Taylor, or the Gestapo?

Postby Wise One » 2009 Aug 21 17:20

This is a very interesting development indeed!

I'm quite puzzled, after reading Patte Wood's story suggesting the Mayor Elrod doesn't really care about citizen input regarding difficulties they might have had with police misbehavior.

It just doesn't sound right. Mimi Elrod, in my experience, is a perceptive and realistic person. I just find it hard to believe she would have anything to do with a shallow dog and pony show (to use the pooch's term) aimed only at polishing police image.

Please say it isn't so, that it's the reporter who goofed or that the right-leaning-rag it was published in colored the facts.

But if it is so, then I agree with Trend that it's time to speak up, clearly and persuasively. If I attend, it will not be as a passive sponge with a happy face, but to participate in a public meeting. If Mayor Elrod is unwilling to hear from this member of the public, and if her police department should try to silence me, then they are going to hear far more from me than they can imagine.
"If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like Donald Trump."


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