Does Safety Really Come First?

The circumstances that occurred on July 31st reminded us of the dangers in the world, even right here within our home town. The shootings of two of Los Banos’ finest were both heart wrenching, and sickening to many of us. The fact that the world has changed should not mean that our own city has to be a part of this negativity too.

Over the past few years, I have noticed a great divide in the showing of RESPECT, or lack of showing this to our Police Officers. I grew up in an era when most gave respect without thinking about it. We were taught at an early age about this value, and it would remain with us to this day. However, others have grown up lacking the basic and common lessons of courtesy, and respect, especially to the men and women in blue who protect us every day, placing their own lives in jeopardy.

My family and I have a very personal interest because a member of our family, as well as some very close and personal friends, which are like family, are a vital part of our local Police Department.

I hope and pray daily for these individuals in the blue uniform who constantly place their life before others. I also pray (yes, I pray) that parents strive to imprint upon their children’s minds that the Police are present for our safety and protection. Give them respect please. As they watch out for each of us, let us also watch out for their safety as well.

My daughter recently spoke with Mayor Michael Villalta regarding her concerns and she felt he was sincere about needing to make changes in this community, however funding has become the big issue. Unfortunately, my daughter did not feel confident that this was going to happen soon. She felt the city focuses more on the “little” things than the more important issues that not only could make a difference, but WOULD make a difference.

Safety should come first. She asked, as many others have wondered, why the department has not employed more personnel to cover every shift, especially those shifts at night, and in the early morning hours. I, too understand the complexity of balancing budgets, however it is now time to do something about the issue at hand. I would like to hear more than the response “we’re working on it,” and know that corrections to the problem will be made in the near future. Ok, so again, perhaps city officials should look over very carefully those expenditures that could be either cut, or lessened, and budget more toward the salaries and benefits in hiring more officers to not only protect the citizens, but to protect their brothers in uniform.

Our city has grown in population in an overwhelming way during the past 25-30 years. Has the staffing in our Police Department increased to a proper ratio of officers to that of its citizens?

I do not believe any one of us wants to ever hear, or see another incident such as what happened in July in Los Banos.

We thank all who responded to help Officer Hew, and Officer Piñon on that morning. We thank these two men for their bravery and dedication to their duties for us, and we extend our sincere appreciation to all of our Police Officers.

Stay safe dear friends in blue.


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