Michelle Lee takes on the job as chief of police for the city of Kent today; a position that was held by James Peach for more than 35 years.
With Lee in charge, we hope to see the ongoing myth that the city police have a vendetta against Kent State students be left in the past.
Lee has already expressed that she too hopes to see a better relationship between students and police in the future. It’s great to hear this attitude coming from the city police. We really hope this becomes a reality.
In the past, many events have led students to believe that police were just looking for reasons to punish them. In Spring 2009, the riots at College Fest created a huge amount of tension between students and law enforcement.
Police used non-lethal pepperballs, stinger grenades and baton rounds to disperse what they described as an “angry and hostile” crowd.
In this case the police overreacted. College Fest should, and could, have been handled with more grace.
There was also the event in November of 2009 when police used a Taser gun to restrain a resident outside of his home on Crain Avenue as it burned.
The man entered his home to rescue several people, and was Tasered and arrested by Kent police, allegedly for hindering firefighters’ efforts at the scene.
A Kent City Police levels of resistance report, said the man used psychological and physical active resistance to avoid arrest, and was both combative and intoxicated.
It’s events like these that are the massive potholes in the road to good police-student relations. It makes students question the sincerity of those who have taken on the task of serving and protecting us.
We see Lee’s arrival as a chance to start fresh, and students shouldn’t hold things that happened in the past against her.
The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent State editorial board.