I AM WRITING this letter in response to an encounter my family recently had with two members of the Philadelphia Police Department.
I am a resident of Los Angeles but I grew up in Philadelphia and my mother and sister still live in the Northeast.
On a recent visit my son - who is 13 years old and has developmental and emotional challenges - became confused and agitated and he ran off and could not be located. A nearly two-hour search had no luck in locating him. We did not contact the police, even though we were concerned, because my son is somewhat autistic and he has reacted negatively to uniformed authority in the past.
As the sun began to set we received a phone call from a gentleman who turned out to be a police officer who said that he had come across my son and was bringing him home. I was concerned since this might have been a negative experience, but when the two officers arrived, my fears were immediately relieved.
First off, they went to great lengths to locate us. My son was not able to recall his phone number or address, so they went through his cellphone contact list until they got his grandmother on the phone. It was extremely kind of them to go to so much trouble. They took it upon themselves to make sure he got home safely.
At every stage, they were kind, professional, respectful and empathetic. The male officer (Officer Barnhardt, Badge 2241, 2nd District) was great with my son, maintaining a pleasant conversation that may have gone a long way towards creating a positive impression regarding the police. The female officer (Officer Hahn) was also very positive and caring, and treated my son and our family with the utmost respect.
I know that Philly's Finest do not always receive the accolades they deserve, but I want to state emphatically that this out-of-town visitor had an extremely positive experience, and I am grateful that this happened in the city of Philadelphia, where we received such a well-trained and effective response.
After watching Gov. Chris Christie's acceptance speech - oh, I mean keynote speech - at the Republican National Convention, I was pleasantly surprised to hear he believes that the Republican Party is the party of "truth tellers" and is prepared to make the "tough decisions." I figured that I might compile some of the areas that need a bit of "truth telling" and see if what he said stacks up.
With the middle class suffering and the economy not doing so well, a bit of "truth" that is needed is that the richest 1 percent in this country should not have a tax break continue; in fact, the taxes should maybe go up for them. The "truth" is that Republicans feel that the "tough decision" is to extend the Bush tax cuts so the rich continue to get richer; meanwhile, the middle class and poor stay middle class and poor.
Women's reproductive rights are under attack again and many in the Republican party want to ban abortion in all cases, even in rape and incest. The "truth" is that women should have the right to decide what they do with their own bodies, and a middle-age man in Congress should not be able to decide if a women who was raped should have to carry that child.
A presidential candidate cannot tout his business acumen in running a company and then, when more information is learned about the practices of said company, say, "I was not with the company when those decisions were made." The "truth" is that a presidential nominee who has stated that cannot decide that the voting public does not have the right to see his tax returns and, when pressed on the matter, state that he does not need to release them because he is "not a business."
The "truth" is that a party whose "tough decisions" never seem to affect the rich and very wealthy people who dominate the party - but do affect the moderate to poor people who are not a large portion of the party - cannot be trusted to provide the country with "truth."
Charles L. Herndon III
Thank you for printing the article regarding rescued dogs from local shelters. So many wonderful animals are available for adoption in this area and are waiting to be a part of a loving family. Remember, if you buy a dog from a breeder or a pet store, chances are one at a kill shelter will be put down. Am I preaching to the choir?
Lori F. Oakes