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In the editorial of Sunday, July 5, the headline was “Changing police methods is difficult but necessary.” I wonder how New York, Seattle, etc., are doing after attempting to change police methods?

What I would like to see is two things: First, before a person or politician engages in wanting to change the police methods, have this person wear the uniform for a week and engage the public with what a police officer faces every day. As a retired West Virginia state trooper, I have no problem with more education and training for a police officer. Most police officers appreciate becoming better at their profession.

Now your editorial said to do away with chokeholds, yet it is my understanding that the military is engaging the MMA to teach hand-to-hand combat for our soldiers. This would be good for our police officers, also. Prior to my retirement I had used a choke hold four to five times. The chokehold should be considered a last resort prior to drawing my firearm and was used to protect myself, the person I was arresting and for the possible safety of the public.

But I would also like to state that the title of your editorial should be directed to the public. I was on the Tom Roten show some time ago and made this statement about individuals who had been shot by police officers: “If these individuals had just obeyed the commands of the police officer, that most if not all of the individuals would be alive today.” I further stated, “if the police officer was wrong in his arrest, sue him.”

Your article then mentioned George Floyd case and other minority cases. In the George Floyd case the officer was promptly charged and arrested, and it was the right thing to do. The demonstrations should have ended with this officer’s arrest. I would still like to see the entire video of that incident, yet the officer was 100% wrong.

I think about the incident at the Wendy’s in Georgia and wonder if the officers were trying to be less physical with the individual because of the George Floyd case. Years ago, when I was in law enforcement, I was told that the officer needed to make the arrest and handcuff the individual within 30 seconds or the officer would not be able to effect the arrest. I do not know if that is true or not, but I know one man I arrested was a scrappy individual that resulted in my use of a choke hold, twice, and still I was unable to handcuff this person. Yet with the assistance of a school bus driver we were able to finally handcuff this person by positioning his hands in his front. So thankful for the assistance of this bus driver. We could not get his hands behind his back.

I loved being a police officer, and I thank the Lord for our police officers and all first responders. They have a thankless job but one that is much needed. May our citizens and our media give the proper and needed appreciation for these professions and educate our public to be supportive and respective rather than antagonistic and destructive.

This is the second thing that needs to be done. Proper education by schools and parents showing the police officer as friend and protector — one to go to in a time of need. If some police methods need to change, then a proper change with the media and society needs to also be established.

Charles R. Shaffer is a Kenova resident.

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