Roosevelt police dispute teenage view of being bad guysMonday, February 14, 2005 By Jackie Hicken
For teens, police are often considered the enemy. Police issue tickets, pull people over, and are supposedly evil people, searching for opportunities to get teenagers in trouble. However, according to Roosevelt police, this is entirely untrue. "It's a misconception that we look for young drivers. There's no such thing as profiling anymore," says Chief Hooley. "You either have a violation, or you don't." "It's a matter of growing up," pointed out Hooley. "Teens have lines that they try to cross. They always have to step across the line." He said that although teens may believe that they are pulled over more often than adults, it's not true. "A person's only cited for one out of 50 driving offenses they commit. We don't separate adults and teens, and we don't have traffic ticket percentages." "The misconception that we're the bad guys starts at childhood," says Officer Denver. "We're the bogeyman," Hooley agreed. "Parents always say, 'put on your seat belt, or the cop'll give me a ticket and throw me in jail,'" explains Denver. "Society's there to blame somebody else. It's the officer's fault. Anytime anything happens, it's our fault," said Denver. "We're not out there to be dictators," stated Chief Hooley. "We're out there to enforce the rules." In an incident last summer, a number of Union students got in trouble for playing Cops and Robbers. "It wasn't valid," said Geoff Lemon. "If we were getting into stuff, then they'd have the right to get us in trouble." Ariana Phillips also mentioned an incident where a group got in trouble for playing night games at the park. Chief Hooley answered these concerns, saying that the problem with night games is the fact that many teens trespass on other people's property and disturb their animals or families. "I don't think there's any harm in playing night games," says Hooley. "Teens have rights." He said that students should notify the facility of where they intend to play. For instance, city parks have a curfew of 10 p.m. However, this can be lengthened if permission is granted by the Park Director. Students should also keep Roosevelt's curfew times in mind when playing. Although students may feel that they are often picked on, the Roosevelt police insist that they do not pull people over because of what they look like. "You can't judge somebody on what their appearance looks like," says Officer Denver. "I wish teens would realize that we're not the bad people," said Hooely. "When somebody calls for help, we're going to be there. I know they don't realize that."