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DV Pilot police & fire

You want selective enforcement when it comes to kids drinking, smoking?

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

A PUBLISHER WRITES: Some have said that police shouldn’t have arrested a Glen Rock woman accused of allowing minors to party in her house, that they should have cut her some slack and go hard after heroin instead — as if it’s a choice between one or the other, or that authorities around here aren’t already aggressively fighting smack, which they most certainly are.

Under that way of thinking, should we extend the amnesty to people who run red lights on empty roads? Those who steal only a small amount of money?

In this case, police said they received numerous noise and nuisance complaints from neighbors. They said they investigated and found that drugs weren’t only being brought in by juveniles but that the homeowner also had obtained pot from one of them.

Jerry DeMarco

At that point, the decision should be what? Look the other way? Ignore the complaints? Tell the neighbors to suck it up? Tell her not to do it again?

Great example any of those choices would set for these kids, not to mention the message it would send: Come to [ YOUR TOWN ], where we don’t bust juveniles who get drunk or stoned — or the adults who let them.

So much for deterrence.

One of the complainers mentioned the fact that speeders and other scofflaws sometimes get off with a warning instead of a ticket. To which I respond: You’re comparing a traffic violation to an accusation that an adult took drugs from a minor?

Law ENFORCEMENT isn’t about choosing which crimes are worth the time. That’s the justice system’s role. Otherwise, what’s to keep a desk officer from telling you when you dial 911 after hearing middle-of-the-night noises downstairs to go back to bed, it’s probably nothing?

Some people also apparently don’t know that you can be prosecuted in New Jersey for not reporting instances of child “abuse or neglect, abandonment, or exploitation.”

I can’t abide the notion that cutting slack to minors who are caught drinking and/or toking up, or the adults who enable them, is somehow better for society in the long run.

I hate this kind of example, but it has some credence: On the off-chance that a kid is cut a break and at some point ends up behind the wheel of a multi-ton vehicle, impaired, and kills himself/herself or someone you love, was it the right decision to let him or her slide?

There’s also a huge hole in the reasoning that pursuing cases involving pot and alcohol carries an inherent corollary that heroin cases AREN’T being investigated. I’ve heard of plenty of heroin arrests in Glen Rock and elsewhere. I write about ’em nearly every day, and STILL there are many that I can’t get to.

Police are dealing with the same thing. They’re trying to get to all the crimes that they can while providing security at the houses of worship and institutes of knowledge, directing traffic, handling accidents on the roads and in homes and at businesses, responding to calls at all hours of the day — of noises downstairs, people parked in someone’s driveway, perverts rollin’ up on kids walking home from school…you get the idea.

It might come as a shock to some to discover that law enforcement doesn’t work individually for each of us but for the collective good of society. Some people don’t get the difference.

In this case, the Glen Rock PD investigated complaints from the public it serves — the very backbone of law enforcement. When they were through, they charged resident Irina Lapin with minor drug possession and child endangerment. She posted $25,000 bail and was released, while three juveniles were detained on delinquency complaints.

That was last July.

After getting the case, state prosecutors in Hackensack apparently considered the circumstances serious enough: Yesterday, they obtained an indictment from a grand jury charging Lapin with more serious second-degree child abuse charges — the conviction for which, in New Jersey, comes with a jail or prison sentence.

Lapin is innocent unless/until proven guilty in a court of law. The system now gets to do its work.

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