For a cop, no traffic stop is ever "routine" | July 3, story
Cooperate with police at traffic stop
The recent horrific tragedy of the loss of two Tampa police officers causes me to write. As a retired police officer I can offer to your readers a way to act and react when pulled over by the police.
First: Pull off the road safely and in a safe place out of the traffic pattern. If you have to drive a short distance to do so, go slowly and signal your intent. Do not make sharp or suspicious movements while being stopped. You can move, after you explain what you plan to do to the police officer.
Second: Place your hands on the steering wheel where the officer can readily see them. Have your passengers show their hands, too. If you are stopped in darkness, turn on your interior light so all is visible in your vehicle, and do not make sudden moves.
Third: Attitude makes a difference. The officer does not know you, but his initial impression can be influenced by your attitude. Don't be stupid. He or she gets enough of that on a daily basis. Treat him or her as you would like to be treated. If you get an officer who does not follow that mode, just think of how many unfriendly people the officer meets routinely, and for the short amount of time you will be detained you should ignore it and continue to be polite. You will eventually win over the officer.
Most important: Do not make any suspicious moves and do exactly what the officer says to do.
Complaints can always be filed later if necessary.
Just try to remember that police officers put their lives on the line every time they go to work. Almost every officer I have known became a police officer to help and care for the people of their community.
Rest in peace, brothers.
Ed Martinell, Lutz
The women in charge | July 3
I wholeheartedly agree with Sue Carlton's column regarding Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio and police Chief Jane Castor.
Mayor Iorio has always been a class act regardless of the situation, but she has shone during this particularly dark time in Tampa's history. She showed the emotion that we all have felt but also gave a demonstration of leadership and direction.
Chief Castor is, in my opinion, one of the best police chiefs in the state. She also exemplifies the characteristics of intelligence, patience and dedication to the people of Tampa and to her officers.
We are very fortunate to have an elected official of Mayor Iorio's capability and an appointed official of Chief Castor's leadership and direction.
Patrick Kroeger, Palm Harbor
A source of pride
First let me express my deepest sympathy to the wives and families of these two heroic Tampa police officers. Your grief and pain is shared by many and their sacrifice will never be forgotten.
Second, I must comment on the loving and professional manner shown by Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio and police Chief Jane Castor. These ladies showed a community the wonderful leadership they practice and the compassion they exhibited to all and especially to these families.
The Tampa Police Department has much to be proud of, from these leaders as well as the force of the men in blue. God bless them all.
Patricia Beck, New Port Richey
Black community harassed
Now that Dontae Morris is safely tucked away in jail, what about Morris' other victims: the black residents of Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio and police Chief Jane Castor's siege warfare tactics? These people were harassed, made to wait outside their homes and guns were drawn on women and children while the police looked for a suspect they couldn't find.
I wonder if those two officers had been shot in Carollwood or Palma Ceia, would Castor and Iorio force white women and their young children out of their homes and apartments with SWAT teams harassing them with threats while the media was being a cheerleader?
Eric Daniels, Tampa
Help the families
As a person retired from public safety, I won't sully the paper with my opinion of the murderer of the two Tampa police officers, but I will say that the reward money should go to the families of the officers and if there are any children, it should be held in trust if they should attend college.
There should be no debate on this, because in the end, it's the right thing to do. Just remember the "thin blue line" took a bullet to keep you and your family safe from this type of vermin, so let's do it!
R.D. Rinehart, Tampa
Honor the deal
If someone takes a police killer off the street then he should get the full reward. CrimeStoppers, the FBI and any other agency must realize that no everyday citizen will be able to get to a killer, and like it or not this is the best source for this type of crime.
It would be sad to not reward the person who made it happen. Also you can be sure if the reward is not given, in the future there will be fewer leads for a good source.
Rich Prestera, Treasure Island
Sensible rethink on class size | June 21
Keep the class limits
Your editorial supporting increasing class sizes above the limits of 18, 22 or 25 (depending on grade level) is counterproductive to the will of the people, who approved the limits by amendment vote.
Moving the "goal line" to include more students does not solve the problem of that "one more" student showing up. Then what would you advocate? Just keep raising the numbers? Soon we would be back to unlimited class size, just what we don't need.
It is not a matter of one more teacher for one student, as you suggested, but of overfull classes being split or "closed" to maintain a reasonable number.
When the people, using good judgment, voted for the limit, they implied a willingness to pay for it. I hope that the people will see the wisdom of defeating any amendment that would change the wise decision they have already made.
Henry L. "Harry" King, Clearwater
Another quagmire | July 2, letter
Mission with a purpose
The letter writer asks what our mission is in Afghanistan and when we could declare victory or defeat. Leon Panetta, CIA director, stated on June 27: "Our purpose, our whole mission there, is to make sure that al-Qaida never finds another safe haven from which to attack this country."
To accomplish such a goal, regional security must be achieved through population-centric counterinsurgency. Such operations cannot be performed without a significant amount of troops. This sort of warfare also requires a lengthy and substantive commitment, but that does not necessarily mean that we are in a quagmire.
Andrew Szarejko, Palm Harbor
Undeserved award | July 3, letter
Test for intelligence
I agree 100 percent with the letter writer. The award is ludicrous and only confirms that jurors should have to take an intelligence test at least befitting a high-schooler. Lawyers are slick and make millions off of punitive damage awards. What a system.
Bonnie Sidor, Hernando