NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Letter: Police Academy

With All Due Respect

In the last edition of the Observer, two separate articles were written about the nuisance created by the police academy now present at the Haverhill campus.

The complaints centered around the supposed intimidating drills the recruits practice on the quad, the amount of parking spots taken up by NECC’s new “student” population and lastly the general anxiety a police presence causes students.

The training exercises specifically have been a sticking point due to the very close proximity between the quad and the daycare facility NECC operates.

In fact, when the children are playing in the enclosed playground area, the new training grounds are directly in their line of sight.

Detractors of the new academy have said the exercises, especially hand to hand combat, could scare the children.

Ben Tavitian a 2015 graduate said he didn’t even notice the new Police Academy which began in his final semester “I also really doubt children are being scared by seeing police officers training, if I could have watched that when I was little I would have been enamored, and I’m pretty sure all my friends would have been too.”

It often seems that the minds of the very young can be underestimated. Has anyone asked these kids if they’ve been negatively affected, or is it just assumed because police officers are being painted as the new boogey man?

The complaint over the parking spots is probably the weakest argument the opposition has made, and frankly barely deserves mentioning.

The C building parking lot has such an excess of spaces available, it is a rare day when it is half full.

Mike Dimanbro an accounting major at NECC who also juggles a full time job at Markets Basket was asked if the reduction in Parking Spots had inconvenienced him in anyway “Are you talking about the people who park in the way, way back of the lot now. Why don’t they just park up front with everyone else?” When informed that they were police officers he responded with a simple “So, they still shouldn’t be forced to park all the way in the back.”

The supposed lack of parking is very simply a fabricated story that people have created who for one reason or another don’t want police on theircampus.

The last major complaint was the general anxiety caused by a large police presence. Some argue that it is not conducive to a learning environment and can be a “trigger” for people who already suffer from anxiety disorders.

First, it is important to note that the recruits are not police officers. They do not carry weapons, and they do not have any of the extra rights police officers have, like searching your car or person if given probable cause, they are students just like me and you.

Erik Goulet, a freshmen physical therapy major, African American, and for full disclosure a close friend of the author, was asked if the Police or recruits had ever done anything that he would consider not conducive to a learning environment, such as having racial epithets yelled at him or possibly being beaten by a group of them. He said “No, the police have never done any of those things to me, in all honestly I’ve found them to be very polite. I always see them waving to everyone and myself. I actually think having them is a bit of a comforting presence, look at what has been happening in America with school shootings, just a couple weeks ago at a CC in Oregon. The fact that the police are here means that we’ll (NECC) never have to worry about that because we’ll never be a target.”

While there will certainly be a continuing controversy over this subject due to the current climate regarding police in America. Generalizing all police is not the answer, it’s discrimination.

Jake Soraghan

NECC student

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