Arrest was justified

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

One of the most difficult parts of the difficult job of being a law enforcement officer is the fact that split second decisions are subject to lengthy review for appropriateness. With the level of responsibility law enforcement officers have, they need to be held to a high standard regarding good judgment.

In the case of a controversial arrest in Cedar Rapids, we are pleased that the Iowa State Patrol found that state troopers acted appropriately in arresting a Cedar Rapids man trying to run a checkpoint in an attempt to return to his flood-damaged home.

During the arrest, a trooper pointed a gun at 53-year-old Ricky Blazer, an event that was photographed by a news photographer. The image received national recognition.

Although there is widespread sympathy over Blazer's frustration at being allowed to return to his home, troopers had little choice but to charge him with assault with a deadly weapon after he allegedly bumped a trooper a few times with the truck he was driving.

Law enforcement officials need to restrict access to areas that are still unsafe as the result of a natural disaster. Although the possibility of looting was probably not a factor in this particular incident, that possibility can also justify limiting access to a flood ravaged area.

People need to obey officials during such situations and the officials need to take whatever actions are needed to enforce their authority.