No job for the police

March 12, 1991

On our opposite page today we carry a letter from an ordinary citizen of Maryland who has been subjected to a frightening experience. As the letter relates, Dianne Stenzel of Perry Hall exercised her constitutional right to express her dissatisfaction with the manner in which her government was being run. For her efforts she received a late-night telephone call from someone who identified himself as a state trooper. It is quite natural, as Mrs. Stenzel says, that she would assume that something had happened to one of her children. She was still collecting her wits when the governor came on the line and began to berate her.

We have commented before on the governor's unconventional -- indeed, eccentric is not too strong a word -- methods of communicating with constituents. If he chooses to do business this way, so be it. But civility would seem to dictate that such calls ought to be placed at reasonable hours, and they should be placed by a secretary or some other aide in the governor's office, not by the State Police.

This is a clear misuse of the State Police, and if the governor does not choose to abandon the practice, the General Assembly should enact a law prohibiting such use.

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