Cops and Robbers | Letters | Chicago Reader

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Cops and Robbers

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To the editors:

What has happened to Pat Kelly and Ron Surmin, the two honest Oak Park policemen from the November 27 issue, really sickened me. It's not bad enough that they have to deal with all the evil and corruption on the outside, but then to not be able to trust their fellow officers. I want to congratulate them for their courage.

Corrupt policemen may rationalize and say to themselves, "Well, this is just dirty money from a coke dealer," as an example, and decide to keep it. But as soon as they become third-party recipients of that money, they are just as guilty of giving that schoolchild cocaine, or killing some store owner so that a junkie could cop, as the cocaine dealer himself. If the policeman pockets that money, he has benefited from all the suffering that produced the money. That money should go back to the victims, through programs or whatever. Now if that money is turned over to a charity or a drug rehabilitation program, I could accept that rationalization.

The incidents described in the article didn't even lend themselves to rationalization, they were just acts of stealing or looting by police officers. One or two greedy and corrupt actions soon lead to a life-style or culture of corruption, which is very hard to change, as the two policemen found out.

I am not so naive as to believe that Oak Park is the only police force with this problem. What I would like to say to them, and to all of the other policemen on the take, is to turn in your badge and become a full-fledged criminal. At least then you would be honest with yourself--and you could leave the law enforcement to the true policemen like Pat and Ron--the ones who stand for something, and the ones whom we as citizens can respect and honor.

J. Yaki

Chicago

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