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Beware of fashion police with drug-sniffing dogs



Published: Thu, September 19, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Beware of fashion police with drug-sniffing dogs

EDITOR:

Recently my daughter was picked up for speeding. She was coming home from shopping for school clothes. Her two cousins and a friend were with her. She had her license and insurance card ready for the police officer when he approached the car.

He took her license and went back to his car. He then preceded back and told her to step out of the car. She did what she was told. He told her to go to the back of the car and began asking her if there were drugs in the car. He also asked her if she had any weapons. He then said to her, "It has nothing to do with the bandana in your hair, but I did notice the boy in the back has studs in his hat. I don't know what would bring kids to wear chains or spikes." She stated, "That is their style. They are 13 years old." (When I asked my daughter who was wearing chains, she explained to me that it was wallet chain.)

She stated at this point she was very uncomfortable because he was in her face. He then proceeded to tell her that if there were any drugs in the car, that they would be found and he would have the canines rip the car apart. She assured him that she was already in trouble with her parents, it was her mother's car, and there were no drugs. She told him that both her parents were in law enforcement. She said that is when he finally told her to take a seat back in the car.

I called both the police officer and the township and have never heard a thing. The four kids all tell the same story. My sister finally called, and the officer flatly denies the whole thing. They told her that she could file a formal complaint.

Our fourth amendment rights are just about shot in this country and "probable cause" is only a couple of words.

I have always taught my children to respect officers because they are people who will help us. I have changed my mind. I would tell everyone to keep a tape recorder with them in plain sight and tape what is being said. Police are here to "Protect and Serve" not intimidate and scare.

Just remember when you are on the road you have no rights. The police are free to search or do whatever they want and evidently on the sole basis of how you are dressed! I hope I don't get pulled over on a bad hair day because the fashion police will surely haul me in.

KATHY BYERS

Salem

Rescue Mission and its volunteers excel in aid

EDITOR:

I have been a volunteer at the Rescue Mission for about three years or so. It's a wonderful organization that serves three or more meals a day to the homeless. The food here is even better than your high-class restaurants, and the mission has a lot cleaner kitchen too.

I had taken a personal tour of the mission and it is very clean.

They have people who stay here trying to get back on their feet and especially to get an education, which is very important so they can get on with their lives.

If it weren't for the Rescue Mission, I don't know what people would do. There's always room for one more, no matter what they have done.

I am proud to be a volunteer, and we have a lot of them that come in here and also to Juanita, a teacher, who teaches the people who stay there too. I tell my friends I volunteer just to eat their great food. The people there are, also, friendly and if they can help you they will.

MARY DEGEORGE

Youngstown




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