Arrest reports policy change needed

Published 8:32 pm Thursday, July 2, 2015

To the editor:

I was raised and reared in this great city and have been a pastor here for 19 years at the historic Missouri Baptist Church.

I have a concern about a situation I believe is not fair or acceptable to me or anyone who has self worth. I woke up on June 24 and went out for breakfast. While I was eating, I opened the Suffolk News-Herald to see my name on the second page, listed under the arrests.

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I must say, I was appalled, angry and felt betrayed by all those involved in placing my name in the arrest reports of our local newspaper. What was printed was an outright injustice to me and all that is connected to me.

The incident that occurred on June 22, 2015 was this: I was about to get into my car at home to take care of my daily activities when a city animal control officer drove up and asked me if I had a dog named Shivers. I said I did. Officer L. Daniels said she had seen him going across the field without a leash. I knew then that this little toy chihuahua had sneaked out of the house when one of the children opened the door.

I realize we were guilty of negligence, and Officer Daniels wrote me a citation for a leash law violation. But I think there is a big difference between being given a citation for a leash law violation and being taken into custody on a full-scale arrest.

That’s why I’m responding with this letter. My name was placed with the names of people who were charged with embezzlement, assault and battery and more.

Many of those people were taken into custody. I, on the other hand, was merely given a citation for failing to have this toy chihuahua on a leash.

The Suffolk News-Herald and the Suffolk Department of Media and Community Relations should have another way of handling such a situation. I feel my name has been compromised, and my reputation has taken a hit in the community.

I hope that folks who feel the same way I do — and who wish to see the policies changed — will contact me and the newspaper. I don’t mind being the tip of the spear that will induce change.

Pastor Ronnie R. Boone