Gilroy police officers respond to column offering reassurance and suggesting a ride-along

Dear EDITOR:
I received a number of interesting responses from the Gilroy
Police Department this week in regard to my column.
Dear EDITOR:

I received a number of interesting responses from the Gilroy Police Department this week in regard to my column.

My column described my concerns when a friend was brought home by police recently and when a friend and I were spotlighted and subjected to background checks for no apparent reason. I raised the question of whether our civil liberties are being threatened in any way in this current war-time atmosphere of paranoia.

Several Gilroy officers took the time to respond thoughtfully to the concerns raised in the column; one officer explained to me: “It was interesting to read your column in The Dispatch. I thought your article was written very objectively, expressing concerns and confusion, rather than being accusatory, which seems to be the norm … I am a Gilroy Police Officer, and I thought I might be able to allay some of your concerns. I have worked for Gilroy PD for over 12 years, and I personally have given many people rides when I thought there was the possibility they might get hurt on their way home, and sometimes just because they have asked for a ride. I have given rides to men, women, and children; white, black, Hispanic; intoxicated and sober. It is intended as a courtesy.”

Another officer wrote: “Hello, My name is Geoff Guerin and I am a police officer in the City of Gilroy. I have just read your recent article in The Dispatch and understand your concern. I have been a police officer here for the past five years and would like to help you understand exactly what we do and why we do it. I can assure you that I work with a great group of people that really care about this community and want to make a difference.

I am currently assigned to investigate gang crimes, which requires me to deal with the most violent persons in this community. Even though the majority of the persons I deal with have serious drug problems, are involved in gangs and simply do not like the police, I still treat everyone I contact fairly and with respect. This is also the same behavior I witness from my co-workers.

I would really like for you to feel safe in this community and confident that your local police are out there doing a good job with compassion and without prejudice. I invite you to come to the Gilroy Police Department and sign up for a ride-along. This way, you can see first hand how we operate and why. If you are interested, you can contact Sgt. Provost or myself to schedule a ride-a-long. Sgt. Provost works during the day from Tuesday through Friday (846-0350). Thank you for your time, Geoff Guerin

KAT TERAJI, Gilroy

Submitted Monday, March 31 to [email protected]

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