Edward A. Tharp

Edward A. Tharp

I was in my early twenties and working as a Garage mechanic at a local Mobil gas station. The cops knew Franks Service Station precinct 2. It was right across the street from box 8, a hard wire communication device on a telephone pole that went directly to P.D. headquarters. All of the foot patrol police officers were welcome to get warm in winter, or just hang out and shoot the breeze for a while. They were all our friends.

On the morning of May 31, 1981 I rode my motorcycle down to a local beach. A friend of mine ran up to me, knowing that I knew most of our cops and told me that one of them had been shot and killed. I remember the shock well and then the anxiety that followed not knowing who had been shot because my friend did not know. I rode like lighting up to the gas station to learn that the one killed was Officer Kenny Bateman.

Kenny was responding to an alarm at The Duchess Restaurant. It was about 3:30 in the morning. The restaurant was closed. In a little while he would leave behind a stunningly beautiful young wife, much family, his fellow police officers and all of us at Franks Service/ box 8. There are not words to describe how we all felt.

It has always been tough to be a law man or woman. It is tougher now more than ever. Every traffic stop that a police officer makes could easily end just as quickly as it did for Officer Bateman, more so today than ever before. We have had our southern borders open to drug cartels and terrorists from Bush through Obama. In August of 2016 Obama released over 300 convicted felons back on to our streets. Many of these were convicted of fire arm crimes so says the Washington Post and National Review On Line, August 2016. Those Felons are out there on our streets and every police officer knows it.

Now back here in Maine, Gov. Paul LePage wanted to do something to stop the trafficking of heroin by attacking the problem at its source. His solution was the same as Rudy Giuliani: Hire massive law enforcement to go after the kingpins of the trade. It worked in NYC and it could work here. Liberal Democrats want more money for treatment that does nothing to stop anything. Maine DHSS has already spent over $80 million on treatment and overdose deaths are climbing. It’s not working folks. The liberal idea encourages trafficking simply because traffickers have less to fear if less cops are looking for them, a no brainer for most of us. Once again liberals are wrong and LePage, being the smartest man in the room, is being obstructed from doing the right thing. The police officer has less resources and the trafficker knows it. All of this is only a small part of what makes being a cop more dangerous than ever.

On Oct. 9, 2014 the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine openly stated on their web page that policing doesn’t work, treatment first. To me, it is no surprise that the Maine ACLU would purposely take this deadly and anti-American approach. This stance plays on compassion for the victim of drug use while allowing the evil to continue. In other words, if an army commits more of its fighting force to saving the wounded, then the army will get over run. Compassionate perhaps, but politically motivated entirely. The ACLU will not tolerate a successful conservative LePage idea on any issue. It is however most disturbing that the Maine democrat party has implemented this “idea” as some kind of solution in Augusta. Drowning in good intentions in this case simply makes a more dangerous environment for our law enforcement officer and for our children.

It is the opinion of this writer that the Democrats and a few Republicans in Augusta are cowardly fools, incapable of making a tough decision to combat an unrelenting evil. They are politically blind to the fact that if we stop the supply, then more funds can go to help those in need of treatment.

LePage is the exception in Augusta who cares and puts the Maine people first — not a far political second such as the Democrat party and the ACLU.

To my fellow Mainers. The next time you see any law enforcement officer, please just take a moment and thank them for what they do every day to protect us. They could really use some encouragement these days.

Edward A. Tharp lives in Woolwich.

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