Sunday, January 20, 2008
Pomona's Letter-writing Cops
I think that a police officer who cares enough to write a letter to the local paper is a good sign. Officer Rich Martinez, following in the footsteps of Chief Romero, wrote a great letter to the Editor of the Daily Bulletin this past week. But first, here's the original letter from concerned citizen Ralph Colbert (who, by the way, doesn't seem to have a problem with a massage parlor being located directly across the street from an elementary school):
"Focus on real crimes
I read in the Daily Bulletin about the bickering between Pomona's mayor and police chief over crime statistics.
Then I read an article about an all-too familiar shooting that left one dead and one injured, also in Pomona.
Those two articles were followed by another article about the busts at several massage parlors on Garey Avenue.
After digesting this news my first thought was, why are the cops so worried about what happens in the privacy of a massage parlor when people are murdering people at a record-setting pace.
It made me think of the arrest of Sen. Craig inside a bathroom at a major airport by an undercover vice officer, an arrest that stemmed from the senator tapping his foot.
I don't know about you, but I'd prefer all police personnel in airports be on lookout for bombs and terrorists, or at least guarding my luggage until I retrieve it.
I once asked a cop why all the prostitution stings and massage parlor busts instead of setting up surveillance at popular walls of taggers. He responded by telling me that busting street prostitutes and women in massage parlors is much more fun than chasing gangbangers.
Pomona and the nation will never get on track until priorities are realigned.
Here's Officer Martinez's Daily Bulletin Letter to the Editor in response:
"Prostitution: It's a crime
Regarding the letter to the editor from the reader concerned about the Pomona Police Department's priorities, "Focus on real crimes," Jan. 15:
Let me say that fighting violent crime, particularly violent crime committed by gangs is our top priority. However, like most departments we have to juggle multiple priorities.
In the eyes of the majority of Pomona's citizens, prostitution is one of their concerns. We try to tackle street prostitution first. This type of prostitution drives away businesses, offends decent families and is associated with drugs, robberies and violent crime.
To be clear, the massage parlors recently dealt with were fronts for prostitution, not legitimate businesses.
Although not as visible as street walkers, indoor prostitutes are connected to other ancillary crime as well. The problem of human trafficking in such illegal operations is an emerging problem in the Los Angeles region.
Most importantly, just because a crime occurs indoors does not mean it's not important. If that were the case, we wouldn't care about domestic violence inside the home or child predators surfing the Internet in the confines of their apartments.
Police departments have the difficult task of meeting citizen expectations, and in Pomona there are still citizens who expect us to fight prostitution, whether it's run by a street pimp or an unscrupulous business owner.
Also, readers should know that in between my regular duties I participate in gang and parole sweeps and other details to fight violence. With our overall staffing in Pomona, we all have multiple duties, but it matters not, because we all care.
OFFICER RICHARD MARTINEZ, Vice Detail, Pomona Police Department"
Kudos to Officer Martinez for caring enough about Pomona to sit down and write a letter in response.