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(Gunnison) Police guilty of over-aggressive tactics will be dealt with harshly if House Bill 49993 makes it through the Senate. If passed the bill calls for the suspension of TV viewing by police officers.

“We have a segment of law enforcement personnel who have lost the ability to distinguish between TV cop shows and the day to day reality of our small towns,” said one proponent of the bill. “They think they are fighting crime when what they’re doing is harassing innocent citizens. We need less macho and more serving and protecting. We don’t need a SWAT team to get a cat out of a tree.”

Law makers are concerned that extreme enforcement techniques will only continue to polarize an already shell-shocked populace in small towns. They say overreaction to a potentially explosive situation deprives people of their rights and causes deep resentment toward authority in general. Police should be taught to first attempt to defuse a situation, not just to control.

“Now we are aware that the urban areas are no Mayberrys and that the majority of police are hard-working, well-intentioned civil servants,” continued the source, “but we are convinced that a few bad apples populate cruisers, especially in “safer rural communities”.

While supporters say they have ample votes to write the bill into law, detractors at the state level say an eleventh hour filibuster could be necessary to kill the move. One fence-sitting element stops short of punitive measures suggesting rather that focal points in Constitution are foremost in the regular curriculum at the police academy. – Melvin O’Toole