Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Heather Soellner of 98.3 Star FM comments on Ride-A-Long with PGPD

Police Chief Hylton,

Sir, I had the opportunity to ride along with Squad 47 in District II on Friday night. Many people
warned me when I went on the ride along that is was maybe something I should reconsider, maybe
take a ride-along in another county like St. Mary's or Calvert. I have to be honest, I was intimidated.

We (my ride along officer and myself) punched in before 3:30 on Friday afternoon and I have to be truthful, I had
some preconceived ideas about the Prince George's County Police Force. I'm too embarrassed to tell you
what they were...but I'm sure you have heard them all before from citizens in Prince George's County.
All of those ideas changed at about 4Pm Friday outside of Largo High School. When Officer Colandrea and
myself got on scene...it was truly a 'Scene'. 150 to 200 angry, disobedient teenagers watching a fight in the
street. One officer, Officer Wiggins, had one student detained while he was surrounded by these teenagers.

Being a civilian, I was a little nervous, then I just got angry. I wanted to yell and scream at these kids video
taping with their cellphones to 'Get to where they needed to be!.' Officer Wiggins and Officer Colandrea were
unbelievably professional. I wish I could find a better phrase to emphasize how tactful they were while
be surrounded by an unruly nasty mob. Seriously, that's what these kids were. I believe Officer Jordan showed
up and with the tact of true professional officers they dispersed the kids and made a horrible situation
just a blip on the radar...That was the first call....there were others that night as well.

To make a very long story short. I walked away with amazing sense of the disrespect that citizens of Prince
George's County have for their local police department. I heard foul language being spewed at Officers who
were called to the scene for help by the same person who made the call for help. I saw your officers play social worker,
psychiatrist, referee and more, all with a sense of understanding and keeping their frustration in check.

I could never show the restraint for some of these citizens that your officers showed on Feb. 26th. I loved how
many many of these citizens complained their constitutional rights were being violated,
then none of them were able to describe what right or what amendment was being violated.

I know the press is rarely a friend to some in law enforcement. But you now have one. I can't express how much
I appreciate what the officers did that night and how much I could never do what you and your force does every
day. I don't have the patience or the ability not to lash out at the disrespect. Your officers (the ones I encountered)
have all of these abilities and more. I guess that old cliche is true, 'walk a mile in my shoes.' To be honest
I don't want to walk in yours. You and your officers walk much better in them than I ever could.

Just as a casual observer: People with home security alarms need to pay the Police force for calls that turn up nothing.
People whose homes are broken into need to realize that the Police can't sit in their driveway 24 hours a day waiting
for teens to break in. New radios are needed and bigger print on the computer screens in the officers vehicle. Just a
thought. Maybe if you every get a little extra spending money. You could get it if you charge the home security folks.

Thank you Chief Hylton. The crew I was with on Friday changed my misconceived notions of officers in PG County. Except
for the Sergent on duty that night, Mike. He said he doesn't ever listen to our show...I was shocked and dismayed...
If you every need a friend in radio, do not hesitate to call.


1 comment:

zebra305 said...

Kudos, Heather! Too bad very few folks will listen. But it's nice to see anyway.

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