I am writing to respond to a recent article in the Missourian entitled "City manager, police chief announce gloomy findings of department review."
As an undergraduate student who only recently turned 21, I have a unique perspective on the issue of law enforcement in Columbia. I am not surprised to find that there are so many internal problems within the police department; it shows in the way the officers conduct themselves.
The police go far beyond promoting the safety of those under the influence, as demonstrated when they stop students under the influence who are safely walking home on campus and penalize students who are obtaining sober rides home, and give them all minor-in-possession tickets.
The students of Columbia's colleges, especially MU, are the lifeblood of the community, and the police are making it a very unpleasant place for them to live. The air of the officers' actions is not one of hoping to eradicate underage drinking — which will never happen — but of overgrown bullies hoping to be able to say "nanner nanner boo boo!" in the faces of the randomly chosen underage drinkers they target on any given night. I believe this is the "supervisory culture" the article references.
Perhaps due to the training and organization problems mentioned in the article, the police simply have nothing better to do. Yet there is something better for them to do: Keep our citizens safe from the real dangers of college life, namely drunk drivers and predators on campus late at night. Stop penalizing drunk minors attempting to avoid these dangers by getting sober rides home. Find a new source of funds that doesn't involve handing out MIPs like candy.
Lisa Korte is an MU student.