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Letters to the editor - 6/21/03

June 21, 2003

Street-corner cameras invade citizens' privacy


To the editor:

City Police Chief Arthur Smith hopes to have 12 to 14 24-hour cameras installed in downtown Hagerstown to help curb street crime and generally improve the quality of downtown life.

This was done not too long ago in the Jonathan Street area and I ask: How has the quality of life improved there? Okay, most of the drug dealers have gone and set up shop at a different location, but has anyone's life in that area been improved?

Has it helped them pay their bills? Helped them purchase a home or car? Helped them find employment or get a better education?

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These are some things that come to mind when I think of what improves quality of life.

Seems to me you could just as easily put officers on the corners in those areas and have them walk a beat.

The increased police presence would absolutely deter crime and surely make residents feel safe. It would also encourage the interaction between the community and the Hagerstown Police Department, giving the residents a better opportunity to communicate their concerns on a daily basis.

Seems to me, when I travel through Hagerstown there are a lot of police in cruisers just sitting around or driving around doing nothing.

Officers are supposed to be protecting us. I, for one, am not fond of being observed by the government via TV. I believe street corner as well as red light cameras are an invasion of privacy and a violation of individual civil liberties.

Having Big Brother spy on us 24 hours a day, on our "public" not "government" streets is just one of the first of many steps leading to the dismantling of the Constitution and fostering a police state giving way to a socialist republic.

Why not just install cameras in everyone's house while you're at it? Who knows what could be going on in there?

Leonard Stottlemyer

No. 15400

Washington County Detention Center

Hagerstown




In safe hands with state police


To the editor:

With you and your readers, I would like to share some of the content of a letter I recently sent to Captain Turano of the Maryland State Police. Here is an excerpt:

"About a month ago around 11 p.m., I was entering the Leitersburg Pike, making a left turn from the Long Meadow Shopping Center when out of nowhere appeared a pickup truck almost on my bumper.

When I turned onto Marsh Pike, the truck was even closer; but I was determined to continue doing the posted speed limit. Just as the line on Marsh Pike turned solid, the truck passed me. Soon thereafter, I saw flashing lights on a police car behind me.

Since I knew I had not done anything wrong, I pulled to the right so the officer had room to pass me. To my delight, the pickup driver who had just passed me illegally was escorted to the side of the road. My first thought was "There is a God after all." Then I thought, "No, thank God for the state police!'"

Although I am not a perfect driver, I do try to obey the "laws of the road" and am courteous to other drivers.

However, when I see negligent drivers on the road, I often wish our law enforcers would be there to see what I see. Then I realize that these officers cannot be all things to all people all the time. I for one am grateful for the service these men and women give the community, but I guess I need to be reminded that they are "on duty" even when I do not realize it.

This recent incident reminded me I really am in safe hands.

Beverly J. Yeagle

Hagerstown




Hospital does a fine job


To the editor:

I felt a letter of praise was in order for our local Washington County Hospital and the emergency room services. So many times we read about the complaints, but such was not the case with my visit.

I was taken to the Emergency Room the morning of May 29 unable to get my breath. I was immediately admitted to the Emergency Room and a Dr. Kotch was immediately available to evaluate me. He very pleasantly ran numerous tests until he was satisfied he could do all he could for me. The nursing staff, X-ray people and everyone else treated me as if I were the most important person in their care.

I was admitted to P.C.U. later in the day and the kind and caring service continued throughout the night while arrangements were made to transport me to St. Joseph Hospital in Towson, where two stints were implanted.

I am doing well thanks to the capable and thorough service I received at Washington County Hospital. We can be so glad to live in a community of caring medical staff.

God bless you.

Arthur B. Richards Jr.

President

Richards World of Travel

Hagerstown

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