Macon Chronicle-Herald - Macon, MO
  • EDITORIAL BY TERRI HACKETT, C-H editor Officers are human too

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  • There are times in a person's life when you say to yourself, "Oops." There are some that seem to feed on others mistakes like barnacles on a whale. Having said that, a police officer who parked in a handicap parking place at a local grocery store on Saturday has been taking a beating on Facebook. Did the officer make a poor choice? Yes. Is it illegal to park in a handicapped parking place if you are not handicapped? Yes. Is it the worst thing that could happen in life? No. Hopefully, those who had some very rude comments about the "Gotcha" moment have got it out of their system. I doubt it. For some reason people enjoy finding mistakes of others, and creating chaos.
    I have no problem with keeping officials or law enforcement on their feet. After all they chose the profession to lead or protect our community. In this case the officer was going in on a police matter, not to grocery shop. I don't think there were dozens of handicap people circling the parking lot waiting to park in that particular space.
    Many comments about the incident have been rude and disrespectful to law enforcement. I don't know why some find such discontent with law enforcement. Some will say because officers think they are above the law. I think officers are human and they have a job to do.
    Looking at the situation from where I'm sitting, the officer should have pulled in front of the doors. I don't think lights and sirens were necessary. Why draw rubberneckers to the scene, to cause a bigger scene.
    Macon Police Chief Steve Olinger issued the following statement about the situation:
    On Saturday, May 26, an officer of the Macon Police Department responded to Prenger Foods for a report of a crime in progress. As the officer arrived on scene, he found the parking lot full of cars and customers. The officer attempted to locate a parking space near the front of the building so he may conduct his investigation in a safe manner. Instead of parking in a fire lane or blocking the entrance to the store, the officer chose to park in a handicap space, since there were multiple handicap spaces vacant. We would like to sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused to any customers. Chief Olinger
    That is a good enough reason for me. But I don't have a beef with law enforcement. Yes, it was wrong. Was anyone hurt? No. Again was it illegal? Yes. Is it anymore illegal to abuse the use of a handicap tag? No. I know of a few people, who are not handicapped, that use a family member's tag to park closer to a store.
    Without sounding like I am taking sides. Get over it. Hopefully the officer has learned a great lesson in this situation.
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