Slain officer merited more attention than a golfer's...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

February 12, 2000

Slain officer merited more attention than a golfer's victory

Being members of the public safety community, we found The Sun's Feb. 8 front page layout to be totally Insensitive to Sgt, Bruce Prothero's family and fellow officers.

To have a large picture of Tiger Woods and the headline "Woods wins 6th straight" above a very small picture of Sergeant Prothero was very poor planning.

Whoever planned that page needs to realize what is truly important.

The Sun has emphasized and capitalized on recent police-involved shootings and, now when a police officer is gunned down that is overshadowed by a picture of a professional athlete.

Not to take anything away from Mr. Woods' accomplishment, but it belonged in the sports section, not above a tragic story like Mr. Prothero's.

This officer was killed in the' line of duty, and he deserved better treatment in the press.

We Often marvel at the disparity between the salaries of athletes and those who risk their lives daily' on our streets.

We know these obscenely divergent incomes cause the protectors of our safety to further risk their lives by taking other jobs to give their families what they need.

To have The Sun further diminish the importance of this man's life and work, and place more emphasis on the accomplishments of an athlete, is truly a slap in the face to all public safety employees and to the family of this brave officer, who gave his life to keep us safe.

Samuel Snyder and Mary Snyder, Baltimore

Ms. Snyder is a retired police officer. Mr. Snyder is a Baltimore County paramedic supervisor.

On Feb. 8, I looked at the front page of The Sun to see a large picture of Tiger Woods in victory at Pebble Beach. Under his picture, I saw a small picture of a slain Baltimore County police officer.

I am disgusted at The Sun's priority in news reporting.

The article regarding Sgt. Bruce Prothero belonged at the top of the front page. Put Tiger Woods in the sports section where he belongs.

Sue Wunder, Lutherville.

I am shocked that The Sun would run a picture of Tiger Woods winning a meaningless golf tournament above an article about a murdered policeman (Feb. 8).

Although this was shocking, it did give me the opportunity to show my children who should and should not considered a hero.

It also enabled to show them how The Sun continues to prove it will never be more than a second-rate newspaper.

Bill DePaola Jr., Perry Hall

Public servants deserve more respect, better pay

The horrible shooting and death of Sgt. Bruce Prothero should shake us all up.

Dedicated men and women risk their lives every minute of the day to protect citizens like us and, yes, "citizens" like the ones who gun them down.

Their lives are spent caring for the needs of others and serving a public that doesn't begin to pay them what they are worth.

We spend millions on some guy who can swing a golf club or hit a ball with a bat, but allow our firefighters, emergency medical technicians and police officers to be overworked and underpaid.

To those devoted public servants who have missed meals and kids' birthday parties and had sleepless nights reliving an accident scene, I say: Thank you and God bless you all.

Susan Garde, Marriottsville

Sad, sad, sad that Sgt. Bruce Prothero had to moonlight to bring his income up to a decent living standard. An officer's job is dangerous enough without moonlighting. My suggestion is that we pay all officers a decent wage, so they do not have to look for extra work.

This young father had triplets and a set of twins. With adequate pay, on his day off, he would have had the pleasure of being with his children and time to help his wife.

Now the children have no father and Sergeant Prothero's wife finds hers a widow with five infants to raise

Evelyn Lemel, Baltimore

Let me begin by expressing my deep sympathy to the family and friends of Sgt. Bruce Prothero.

It is a tragedy that a young man, a father of five and devoted husband, should be taken down in his prime.

What I would like to add is this: it is time to re-evaluate what our law enforcement and fire personnel are paid.

Maryland has a surplus. Rather than argue if it is right to buy books for private schools, shouldn't we be trying to increase the salaries of these honorable people?

Mr. Prothero was trying to give his family a better life by working two jobs. If he were paid adequately, he would not have been forced to take a second job and put himself in even greater danger.

Yet we pay sports and other entertainment figures millions for playing games and making movies. Something is clearly wrong with our priorities.

I bet there are people who would pay higher taxes if they were sure the money would go to teachers, police officers and firefighters.

C. Crandell, Abingdon

How many other killers committed past gun crimes?

I know, from personal experience, that far too many murderers and other serious felons are repeat offenders with previous handgun violations on their records.

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