My hat is off to Mayor Bill Yates for questioning the need to pour more taxpayer money into the growing Morro Bay police industry; I recall the town relatively recently owned the distinction of having more police, per capita, than any other city in the United States, and it’s not uncommon to see two units and four officers shaking down a kid for riding a skateboard without a helmet. Many citizens have complained of police button-polishing, harassment, false arrest, and false report writing.
Too many families in Morro Bay have stories, and Mayor Yates should be lauded for voicing the opinion many of us have come to hold. Nobody wants to see bad guys not get caught, but too many cops and, well, they start looking for things to do. It is an ironic joke in Morro Bay that people are “afraid to walk the streets” for fear of police harassment.
The United States now incarcerates more of its citizens, per capita, than any other nation in the world as the result of law enforcement industry over-reach. Many, their lives ruined and families unduly burdened, for harmless, victimless crimes such as possession of cannabis, and the punishment doing “offenders” and their families far more harm than using the substance ever could. Perhaps, with a shortened budget, Sheriff Parkinson might consider concentrating his drug efforts on truly dangerous substances like methamphetamines. And I wonder, Sheriff Parkinson, if the money spent on an ambiguous Gang Task Force might not be better spent on reviving your completely dissolved White Collar Crime Task Force? (Might be a good job for Tim Olivas. Give him a change of pace and bigger cats to kill.)
Fellow citizens, think about the long run. Every dollar we spend on education is $10 saved from policing and incarcerating our people. Let’s get real.