I recently attended a conference on the essential qualities resulting from the best-planned, best organized communities. Items like affordable housing and recreational opportunities immediately came to mind. People need shelter that matches a budget and they need recreational opportunities for health and exercise as well as places to visit like parks, lakes, or rose or vegetable gardens. One of the guest speakers, a local judge, added that good communities also have an excellent court system.
Of course, the safety of a community arises from sound law enforcement and a fair judicial system. If officers are out and about in a community, with their eye out for the well being of citizens, those who live in a community are able to feel secure and live knowing that they are safe. Whether they are in their backyard for a barbecue or out for a walk through the neighborhood, knowing officers are on duty is a priority is reassuring that a community is protected. And, I believe, safety breeds safety just as dangerous neighborhoods so often breed danger.
When laws are broken it is critical that the judicial system is in top working order. It makes no sense to arrest or charge willy-nilly, but rather with the best intentions and the best plans for the safety of a community. Officers who are brash are often as dangerous as the criminals they are looking for just as officers who enjoy donuts and coffee more than patrolling and keeping an eye on a community, do not fulfill the commitment and responsibilities of their job. I just want things in my community to be fair, with citizens served with honesty and trustworthiness. Living in a small town I have the advantage of knowing most of our officers. I admire their dedication to their job and those of us who live there. I know that if I ever need help they will be on the scene in a flash to assist me.
From the work of these officers those who have or who allegedly have broken laws appear before a judge. The judge provides probably the most important factor in maintaining the safety of a community. As not all cases are cut-and-dried, it is invaluable that the judge be able to examine each case in an individual fashion. Sometimes bad things just seem to happen while at other times crimes are perpetrated. The judge has to see through all of this and then determine a punishment that is fair and that also serves as a life-long deterrent. If the judge is too lax, the criminal is very likely to become a courtroom regular; if the judge is too severe, a person’s life can end up dedicated to the four walls of a cell.
Yes, our speaker is absolutely correct: The courts of a community, regulated by the judge or judges of that community, do count for the quality of the community and thus the safety and security of every resident. I thank my local judges for their wisdom and devotion. They do make a very positive difference.