John Klett, Deputy Chief of the Berlin Connecticut Police Department, recently published a video tour of the current Berlin Police Station, which is forty years old. Mr. Klett catalogues an endless number of deficiencies in the current police station, including steel bars on the cells, unpleasant odors in the cells, inadequate number of female cells in relation to male cells, lack of private showers for female inmates, lack of bullet proof windows in the Police Chief’s office, lack of bullet proof walls in the data processing room, lack of storage for bullet proof vests, chemical gear, and riot armor, lead contamination in the firing range, etc.
After watching this video, I checked my address to see where I lived? Was I truly living in Mayberry (aka Berlin) or Detroit? Do the Berlin Police know where they are located? Have they checked the crime statistics for Berlin? Well, folks, here they are:
17.24 Crimes per 1,000 People
murder rate 0.00
rape rate 0.00
robbery rate 0.26
aggravated assaults 16
assault rate 0.83
burglary rate 2.86
larceny rate 12.76
auto thefts 10
auto theft rate 0.52
arson rate 0.10
density index 43.67
As you can see, our crime rate is very, very low, with no reported violent crimes!
Consequently, my question to the Berlin Police Department is the following: do you know where you are? 19,000 Berlin citizens are peaceful, respectable law-abiding citizens. Yes, it is true, Berlin has the occasional drunken driver, domestic quarrel, petty theft, pedaphile, and hooker, but truly, do we warrant a Police Station designed for the crime-ridden streets of Detroit? Do the Berlin Police think that Berlin residents are the Taliban since they require body armor, bullet proof vests, riot gear, chemical equipment, bullet proof walls and windows, swat rifles and handguns capable of blowing one’s head off, as well as firing ranges in preparation for D-Day? Isn’t that insulting to the Berlin residents and taxpayers, who pay their salaries and who will foot the $21 million bill for their Fort Bragg?
If the Berlin Police do not think that Berlin residents are the threat to their safety, then who do they think will drive by and riddle their building with bullets, mortars, and grenades? Have there ever been reports of any bullets fired into the office of the Police Chief or the data processing room? Who do they think would be crazy enough to drive by their heavily armed garrison and shoot at it? Michael Corleone?
When was the last time the Berlin Police needed to use riot helmets, body armor, chemical gear, and swat rifles? Has there ever been a riot in Berlin necessitating the use of such weaponry and equipment? If there had been, I sure missed it!
Maybe we don’t need a bigger, newer Police Station. Maybe we don’t need forty-two police officers, thirteen support staff, and both a police chief and a deputy police chief. Maybe we don’t need a police state in Berlin, Connecticut. Maybe we just need a friendly, neighborly, and practical Sheriff, like Andy Taylor, with Gomer and Goober as stand-ins. Do we really need a gang of Barney Fifes indulging in overkill (pun intended)?
After listening to the litany of deficiences of our current police station in this virtual tour, I was surprised that Deputy Chief Klett didn’t include the following deficiencies in the current police station facility:
- An indoor swimming pool to keep police officers in tip-top shape
- A Dunkin’ Donuts to reduce coffee runs
- Machine gun turrets to protect the department from a citizen uprising
- A tiger tank for a show of force
- A nuclear fallout shelter in the event of an Iranian attack
Perhaps you can add a few of your own.
Good grief, Deputy Chief Klett: don’t you think your video tour was a bit of a stretch?