The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.

JULY  2008

                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.






What Do You Think?
opinion by pete edwards

Editorial for THE PEOPLE

Machine gun madness

Being a cop is not an easy job, neither physically or mentally. Most people are not cut out for law enforcement, It must be enormously tempting to go crooked when you feel above the law. Even if you are caught,  being punished is almost unheard of because it is difficult for the good cops to rat on a colleague. Cops stick by cops no matter what. Even my writing this will draw the wrath of many of our finest, not because it is not true, but because there is a comradeship among law enforcement that tends to glaze over misconduct with benevolence. That is why there needs to be an infallible way to evaluate officers to protect the public. And the public needs to have complete confidence that the legal system works for cops and public alike.

Two recent events come to mind where cops have sidestepped the law when the average citizen would have been offered no mercy. The case of the Athens detective accused of stealing from an evidence locker and the much more worrying case of  Drug Task Force Agent Bobby Queen's standoff armed with a machine gun.

It has been said that there is nothing more dangerous than a crooked cop, but it could be argued there is  nothing more dangerous than a crooked cop with good cops to defend him.

Pete Edwards
Editor - Publisher

Police culture has now evolved to protect all those in blue even at the expense of public safety and trust.

As soon as news was released of the Queen standoff, attempts were made to downplay the seriousness of the event and to protect Queen. First it took almost six hours to disarm Queen who was in possession of a machine gun. Then the case was handed over to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation which is a legal way to block public information about what happened. The TBI is nothing more than an official cover-up agency. Then Queen was taken for mental evaluation - end of story.

Here is a dangerous man trained in police tactics on the verge of going berserk with a machine gun, threatening police for six hours and what happens to him?  He is protected from negative publicity and ..... and, nothing. Was he fired from his job? Not that I'm aware of. Is he still collecting his pay as a Drug Task Force Agent? As far as I know he is.

It is understandable that his buddies on the force want to protect his future. Also there may be a need for compassion if the true facts were known but the freeze of information to the public does nothing to set an example to other would-be crazed cops or to bolster public trust.

Will Queen ever be punished for his crimes and incarcerated as a danger to the public?
What do you think?

Beer sales 101

The Bradley County Commission have been agonizing over beer permits. Or more accurately, how far from a school or church should beer sales be permitted. The 1000 feet presently in force seems to be overly punitive to some businesses wishing to sell carry out beer. Often the City of Cleveland is referred to as a model and it has been suggested that Cleveland's distance is 500 feet.

One of the featured writers of The People News is Joe Kirkpatrick, who also happens to be the Chairman of the Cleveland City Beer Board. Joe put me straight on Cleveland beer sales distances.  8-212 of the city beer regulations says Class 1 (on premises consumption - restaurants etc.) and Class 3 (off premises consumption - carry out) must not be within 185 feet of a school or church. Class 2 (on premises consumption - taverns) cannot be less than 500 feet.

The distance in the Cleveland beer regulations is measured in a straight line from front door to front door, so the actual building can be less than the regulated distance depending on layout.

Balloon heads

City council members are proving once again that if you want to screw something up they are the best people in town to do it.

Their latest attempt is to enact foolproof regulations for the issuance of a burning permit. Apparently the Cleveland Fire Department is responding to false calls of a fire that has been  issued a burn permit. These calls are eroding the fire protection budget unnecessarily. Council members Richard Banks seconded by Bambi Hines, thought a lighter than air balloon tethered to a cord should be flown above the fire to prove a permit had been issued, so that citizens would not call in a false fire alert.

We should consider that these two council members are supposedly intelligent enough to budget for city government and represent Cleveland taxpayers. They are required to make important and sometimes lifesaving decisions, yet they concocted an air-brained scheme to fly balloons over a fire. City Manager Janice Casteel, a light in the wilderness and the only one with common sense, pointed out the possible folly of their actions if a fire occurred in a neighboring structure to the permitted burn. Not surprisingly, Banks and Hines were not impressed.

Where does Cleveland find council members of this caliber?

That's what I think.  What do you think?