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Reader's View: Caring police officers use their authority wisely

About 15 years ago a nursing student at St. Scholastica asked if she could interview and examine patients of mine -- under supervision and with consent, of course. In return, I asked if I could accompany her husband, a Duluth policeman, on his ni...

About 15 years ago a nursing student at St. Scholastica asked if she could interview and examine patients of mine - under supervision and with consent, of course. In return, I asked if I could accompany her husband, a Duluth policeman, on his night shift in Central Hillside.
I recalled that night reading the July 5 commentary by Duluth Police Chief Gordon Ramsay and Deputy Chief Mike Tusken, “Don’t judge all officers by actions of a few.”
The night was a routine, easy one for the officer. Easy things included a street fight with bats, a break-in at a school, a burglary in an upscale home and compassionately deciding what to do with a terrified woman from Bangladesh left by her family. He made me stay in the car while he responded to a fight upstairs in a deteriorated apartment building among young adults high on drugs. Driving past bars at midnight, he knew the people on the street chronically drunk and of no public threat. And he knew the one who wasn’t familiar and was a nuisance and a threat, and eventually we delivered him to the county jail.
Each time he stopped a car for an interaction and got out, despite having some information on his computer based on the license plate, there was always uncertainty and potential danger. Twice he had to call for a partner to even the odds.
This officer was intelligent and street-smart. He was a family man who loved our city and knew his work was important. He used his authority wisely, not trying always to solve everyone’s problems but just making sure each call was concluded with the assurance the public was safe. The calls involved white, African and Native Americans; all were treated with equal respect. The work was constant; we stopped for a doughnut at a gas station for a break once.
Glad it was an easy night.
Dr. Bob Niedringhaus
Duluth

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