Opinion & Editorial

Letter to the editor: Police should reflect community values

Dear Editor:

I was deeply saddened when a witness described Cottage Grove Police officers employing what might charitably be described as the overzealous use of force in a September incident. 

This is not the Cottage Grove I know and was proud to be part of. 

South Lane residents had political, social, and religious diversity and disagreements. Different strongly held views were discussed civilly and rarely taken personally. Despite disagreements, we maintained friendships. Above all, there was a bond of community, a community that together had a sterling record of accomplishments before I arrived, while I lived in CG, and after I left.

Police were, and are, an essential, integral and supportive part of the community, protecting our safety and aiding the most vulnerable. I was privileged to know and interact with most of the officers and department leaders during the many years my late wife and I owned KNND.

Two of the chiefs I knew well were strong advocates of non-violent policing. Sometimes force was necessary, as when a bank robber held hostages, but the police protected citizens from harm rather than causing it. 

I now live in a more antagonistic city but have long cherished the many happy memories of living and contributing to Cottage Grove – a place of civility, cooperation, and a deep sense of community that embraces all its members. I therefore was disappointed that the city’s response to the September incident read like a press release from the Chicago police, an agency that has a long history of citizen abuse. 

I fervently hope that the council and city manager rededicate themselves to upholding the transparency and community values that Cottage Grove long exemplified. 

All who live in the community must be kept safe and protected.

David Pfleger,

Chicago, Ill. 

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