Whatever the Ann Arbor Police have been doing, it’s getting not a few people upset. Here’s another letter to the editor in the Daily about strong-handed policing in student neighborhoods:
“To the Daily:
I am, more or less, a law-abiding citizen, and I have always considered myself to be of the idealistic, police-respecting school of thought. However, in the Ann Arbor Police Department’s attempt to crack down on student drinking this year, I think they have done themselves and our community more harm than help. You probably weren’t at Lindenfest a couple of weeks ago, because there were only about 100 students scattered around the entire block when three cop cars rolled up, gave a noise violation to every single house on the street and shone a flashlight in my eyes, yelling at me to “get off the porch!” Since I am 21 and I don’t live on Linden, I didn’t have much to worry about, but I watched as they stormed through the house uninvited and started passing out minors in possession like they were dealing a deck of cards. The cops were there trying to break up a party that wasn’t even a party at all. Despite all the times I defended the police to my peers, reminding them that the police were just doing their jobs, I decided then and there that the cops were out to ruin our fun. By roaming the student dorms like hall monitors, handing out noise violations by the dozen, stealing the taps off kegs and breaking up parties that are barely parties at all, the cops are instilling in us, the rising generation, a growing animosity, disrespect and distrust in the police force of our nation.
While risking sounding dramatic, I think this will have grave effects on our democracy. Trust in the government is a fundamental element of a healthy democratic political culture. I think the political culture of our country is currently undergoing a damaging metamorphosis. With political apathy and distrust already running rampant among our generation, I fear the growing disdain for the police will be wood on the damn the man fire. Sex scandals in Washington, electoral fraud in Florida and a deceitful State of the Union address. I wish I could at least have a local police force that wasn’t on a complete power trip. In its vision statement, the Ann Arbor Police Department claims to adhere to the principles of trust and partnership with the community. If the police around here want to receive any respect at all from the students and restore some of the lost trust in authority, they need to listen to their own vision statement and figure out how to handle a campus of 30,000 students more constructively.