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Actions of some make job tougher for troopers

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Modified: August 20, 2009 at 4:12 am •  Published: August 20, 2009
In their defense, we know most Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers work hard, do their job well and deserve the respect of those they serve and protect.

But respect is earned, and several matters involving troopers this summer are making that respect more difficult to give.

In June, a jury acquitted a trooper who was accused of assaulting a baseball coach in 2008 while off duty. That’s where the good news ends, because shortly after video surfaced of an altercation between a different trooper and a paramedic.

Then in the past week have come news reports about troopers getting paid for time they didn’t work over a two-month period, and questions over whether a special unit of troopers is unjustly targeting out-of-state drivers.

Video of the trooper-paramedic scuffle during a traffic stop was widely viewed on television and the Internet. Trooper Daniel Martin was suspended for five days for "conduct unbecoming an officer.” The punishment struck many, including the driver of the ambulance that was the subject to the traffic stop, as too light. The paramedic has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit and accused the trooper of using unnecessary force.

The light punishment accusation came up again when The Oklahoman’s Ann Kelley revealed three troopers were punished in May for falsifying time logs and being paid for work they didn’t do while on security detail at the governor’s mansion.

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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Oklahomans have every right to hold troopers to a high standard of behavior and to expect severe punishment when their behavior falls short.

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