Traffic safety is not about crime

To the Editor:

It was very disturbing to read former CH council member Alan Rapaport’s opinion, "Politics shouldn’t interfere with CHPD." Recalling his discussion with former CH police chief Lentz, Rapoport recounted Lentz’s views on law enforcement: Lentz referred to what he called the “felon community,” [believed] "people who break big laws frequently break small ones,” and "drivers stopped sometimes were leaving the scene of a crime or had outstanding felony warrants” and “could be armed.” 

This is exactly the mindset that has led to the killing of many unarmed motorists in the United States in recent years. And it is exactly the mindset we do not need in Cleveland Heights.

Traffic stops, wrote Rapaport, "are not occasions for social work."

Perhaps not. But we do not need armed policemen who are supposed to be preventing crime and catching criminals doing traffic patrol. 

We have thought for a long time—as have many other people—that using trained police officers for traffic safety is a terrible mistake. Traffic safety is not about crime.

Traffic safety personnel trained to simply enforce traffic safety rules need not carry guns nor concern themselves with running license plates for outstanding warrants. Traffic safety would be enhanced, and the likelihood of some disastrous encounter would be greatly lessened. Furthermore, we could save money because these personnel would not have the same training as regular police. Regular police could then devote their efforts in other ways that could make Cleveland Heights a safer community.

Susan and Christopher Wood

Susan and Christopher Wood
Cleveland Heights

Read More on Letters To The Editor
Volume 16, Issue 4, Posted 10:24 AM, 04.02.2023