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Stockbridge Selectboard needs to rein in Police Department  

In his letter to the editor, B.C. Smith writes: "Here in Stockbridge, a purged police force is annoying residents with Woop-Woop BEEP bip-bip BWEEP and various imaginary dangers. The Stockbridge Select Board risks losing its way."

To the Editor:

When was the last time we heard about this: A/RES/34/169, Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials? As customary international law it is state and federal common law. The Stockbridge Select Board do not use this code in legislation or practice. No one thought to consult it when the Select Board recruited a police chief. Predictably, the Stockbridge Police Department washes out under Article 2 of the code. This is a systemic problem: federal policy keeps local governments in the dark about the minimal world standard for accountable policing. Police union slogans fill the vacuum. The results are apparent nationwide in harrassment, predation, and extra-judicial killing by police.

Here in Stockbridge, a purged police force is annoying residents with Woop-Woop BEEP bip-bip BWEEP and various imaginary dangers. The Stockbridge Select Board risks losing its way. Before ballooning the budget for more police headcount, shiny new guns, and state-of-the-art C-cubed, the Select Board needs to see that the police force measures up to the basics applied in Europe or Africa or Borneo: A/RES/34/169. The Select Board needs to ensure that no police chief uses his investigative powers to threaten candidates for public office. Ultimately, police powers and resources should be proportionate to plausible threats, such as… elderly couples canoodling at Tanglewood.

Stockbridge needs a select board that can stand up to federal government pressure for obtrusive policing. The candidacy of Deborah McMenamy has to be appraised in this light. The Stockbridge Selectboard as a whole needs capacity-building or rejuvenation to get a grip on its law-enforcement bureaucracy.

B.C. Smith

Stockbridge

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