A few weeks ago, a woman telephoned me to talk about her scary experience with members of a police department where she lives.  She said she called the police department to report gunshots and drug dealing in her neighborhood.

According to her, police officers did not respond in a timely way, and the responding officers were rude and revealed her identity to the very characters against whom she complained.  Subsequently, her car was damaged.

Now, not only does she fear the gangbangers and drug dealers in her neighborhood, she also fears the police.  She met with a city official who suggested that she move.

That’s right, let’s victimize the victim.  This seems to be a popular way to make neighborhood problems go away, the belief that if you get rid of the complainant, the problem will no longer exist.  WRONG!

Franklin D. Roosevelt is often quoted as saying, “…the only thing we have to fear is fear itself…”  However, the rest of the quote is: “…nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

The fear experienced by the woman above and other law-abiding citizens in her neighborhood is not nameless, unreasoning, or unjustified.  When one is made to fear the very organization that is supposed to protect law-abiding citizens, there’s very little respect or support citizens can give that organization.

I know from my own experiences with police officers that there are some good officers, but I also know that there are too many rude, intimidating officers who could care less about making communities fair and safe environments for all of its citizens.

Peggy Tarr has been a columnist for the Evanston RoundTable since its founding in 1998. Born in Bruce Springsteen's hometown of Freehold, New Jersey, she graduated from Rutgers University with a degree...