Former officer misuses his authority

How are people supposed to trust the police if current and former officers show disdain for half the country?

Editor’s note: This letter is in response to “New columnist should walk a mile in police officer shoes,” published Sept. 23.

As a former resident of Enumclaw (Go Hornets!), I am all too familiar with the tantrums thrown by one its most vocal former police officers, J. Buss. Those who have had the great misfortune of reading his diatribes will no doubt recognize the enthusiasm with which he weaponizes words like “Marxism” and “leftist.” He is, of course, entitled to his own opinions — on that score, I imagine he and I both agree. But after reading his most recent outburst, it once again occurred to me that a man who so brazenly promotes his antipathy for half of the American electorate should never have been endowed with a position of authority.

J. Buss has been gifted with a constitutional right to express his right-wing bile, but that guarantee did not, in and of itself, make it any less inappropriate for him to do so while he was serving as a member of the Enumclaw Police Department. If you identify as a Democrat in this town — if, for example, you drive a car with a Biden/Harris sticker plastered on its bumper — would you feel comfortable getting stopped by a man like J. Buss, someone who seizes every opportunity to denigrate your political beliefs? Was it not too much to ask that Officer Buss, during his more than three decades as a law enforcement official, refrain from “lobbing bombs” against the very same folks he pledged to protect and serve? And if it was, indeed, too tall an order for this particular cop, then it’s imperative that we question whether current officers who share his views employ a disproportionately aggressive approach to those with whom they disagree politically.

I don’t expect this letter to change J. Buss’s mind. On the eve of the 2008 presidential election, we engaged in a back-and-forth — in this very paper, in fact — regarding that most frightening of “Marxist commies,” former President Barack Obama, a man whose intellect and decency J. Buss insulted using the same specious logic he so fervently deploys today. I would simply like to draw attention to his unfitness as an officer of the law, retired or otherwise. By any measure, a man who so openly broadcasts his disdain for the citizens he’s charged with protecting should not, in any town, city, or state, hold a position of power.

T. Roberts

Portland, OR

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