Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor addressed issues facing law enforcement locally and nationwide last week at the monthly Gig Harbor Democrats Club meeting at LeLe’s restaurant.
Pastor, who holds a PhD, noted that “Americans want the benefit of citizenship and public service without the costs or inconvenience of involvement. (We) have a Costco/consumerist image of citizenship; entitlement-talk and rights-talk drown out talk of obligations or duty or cost.”
“The public believes that violence is choreographed as it is in the movies,” he said. “Real violence is not choreographed. Policing involves complex moral and ethical decisions made in a short time frame and with incomplete information. Such decisions are difficult even in serene circumstances. They are especially difficult when made in dynamic or chaotic circumstances. Nevertheless, overwhelmingly the right choices are made in hundreds of thousands of encounters daily.”
America should welcome a discussion on the future of policing, the sheriff said.
“In the course of that discussion, Americans should expect that not all of the criticism nor all of the burden for improving things will fall on the police,” he said. “The use of technology by law enforcement is controversial. We see that technology improves effectiveness and efficiency. At the same time we see it as too invasive. We both love and fear technology.”
The sheriff gave a considerable amount of time to a give and take question and answer session, and praised the Key Peninsula Citizens Against Crime organization for its “extra eyes and ears” contributing to the success of his deputies fighting crime in this area.
Also at the meeting, former State Rep. Larry Seaquist discussed the current Legislature’s responsibility to fund public education as required by the state’s Constitution and the state Supreme Court’s decision. He readily responded to a bevy of questions from participants explaining that, difficult or not, the Legislature simply must provide properly for the educational needs of the state.
The group’s next meeting is set for 7 p.m. June 23 at LeLe’s. The group’s organizer, Todd Iverson, emphasized that “these are open meetings. The public is invited ... and that includes people of all political persuasions.”
For more information, contact George Robison, chair of the 26th Legislative District Democrats, at 253-853-2721.