Why take a swipe at the SWAT team?

Dear Editor;

Pennywise but pound foolish and an editorial board that lives in glass houses hurling stones, are but two glancing thoughts that come to mind occasionally reading Dispatch editorials. Criticizing the Gilroy Police Department’s SWAT team over training costs in a post 9/11 era and then even belittling officer’s prestigious placement in a regional competition dominated by police forces five, 10 and 20 times larger than Gilroy’s all would serve to harm people if the flawed and faulty advice were followed.

When you dial 911, right then you pray for more than what you paid for, in Gilroy you get it.

The hometown good morning always finds fault but never’s at fault guardian of what’s right and whose wrong, blasted the cost of training and competition designed to save people’s lives. Sneak attack articles and editorials are not new – and some are even deserved – but not by the men and women that are sworn to protect us, not this time.

Denying training dollars for crucial life saving services is foolish. Investing in our officers will save their lives and those of citizens they’re paid to protect. Officers deserve the best training available. They place their lives on the line every time they put on their uniform and every day they do their jobs, especially when they save us at what are often the worst moments we could ever know. Our city pays these people scantly enough so that they can afford to be our neighbors while many commute hours to serve where they can’t afford to live.

A week ago, the Gilroy PD hostage negotiation and extraction team gave up their Sunday morning so that they could practice saving lives. Some of us watched an old condemned house we donated be utilized for the drill. God forbid our town ever needs what’s fearful and awe inspiring to behold.

Dispatch readers and long-time staffers may recall that prior to a recent merger that saved its financial soul, that this newspaper’s own editorial leadership sent entire newsrooms full of staffers to awards ceremonies so that journalistic accomplishments might be triumphed and tribuned on high. Did this all happen during a time when more red ink was flowing than the tightest tourniquet could stem? Perhaps, but training still mattered. Step gently now over that broken glass.

Practice that pays off in lives saved is priceless. Glory, pride, and criticism for the sake of selling newspapers ranks a distant second.

Chris Coté, Gilroy

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