To the editor:

Iím writing this letter in response to the letter you printed from Ms. Taylor about the misconduct of one of our local police officers. I have also known this officer and most of the officers at the Brownwood Police Department for 20-plus years. I donít know all the particulars about this case but what I do know upsets me tremendously, as Iím sure it upsets every parent and officer in Brown County. The officer in question took an oath to serve and protect our community.

As a parent, I have always taught my children and grandchildren that if they ever need help, they can always trust a police officer. I believe that as a police officer, this man could very easily get a person to comply with his demands, regardless of her age. He was empowered to serve and protect and he is accused of abusing those powers. I agree with the fact that our children are growing up way too fast. We as parents and the society are responsible for the way our children are raised. I believe in the Explorer program and in our police department, and the officers who serve our community. Yes, they all comb their hair and put their pants on the same way. Unfortunately, one bad apple can easily spoil the bunch.

Mr. Ariaz should be held to a higher standard because we trusted that our children would be safe in his care, unfortunately our whole police department suffers from this officerís actions. I commend all of the officers here who give up time with their families to protect our community. I hope that people in our community can come together and support our law enforcement officials as they have a very difficult job.

Lorie McWhirter