Cops start-up hits too close to home

Much public interest in recent months has focused on gun safety, school safety and government protection from mass violence. And some of our local police departments have heard the call. Two Jaffrey officers have even started their own Blue-U Seminars business that is supplementing their full-time work.

Both the Rindge Police Department, in collaboration with Rindge Crime Watch, and the New Ipswich Police Department have workshops and trainings lined up in the coming months.

Gun safety was the focus of Rindge’s April 16 event, which drew nearly 100 people — including many from outside the town — to the Wellington Road recreation center. In addition to local officers, a certified hunter safety instructor and a licensed firearms dealer were there to offer free gun safety tips and information about New Hampshire laws. Free gun locks were distributed, too.

A forum on DWI and the law is planned for May 21 in Rindge, and a drug detection class will be offered in June.

In New Ipswich, a meeting to inform people of the drugs circulating in the New Ipswich area was held Tuesday, and Wednesday night police were scheduled to offer a workshop on how to set up a neighborhood watch. About 25 people made it to Tuesday’s gathering.

It is gratifying to see the public’s investment in its law enforcement agencies — years of annual training for officers, as well as salaries and benefits, and in some cases reimbursement for higher education — returning in the form of valuable community outreach. These days people are feeling the need for closer ties with law enforcement, so the outlets through training and education on offer are timely.

Jaffrey Police Lt. Terry Choate and Det. Joseph Hileman seem to recognize the growing public interest in gun- and safety-related matters, too, so much so that they’ve struck a business partnership outside their ties at the Police Department. It will be interesting to see what happens Saturday at the event they’ve planned to instruct people in gun laws through their start-up Blue-U Seminars. They’re charging $30 a head.

We wondered why their urge to educate the public hadn’t come through the channel of their Police Department and, instead, is now the focus of a private enterprise. On the one hand, we wish anyone starting up a new business well. It’s innovators and small business owners who drive our local economy. And yet, there was some uneasiness about two people being paid out of public coffers using the training and education received at taxpayer expense to further private gains over and above their full-time salaries and benefits.

This is a sharp contrast to the work being done by officers in surrounding towns.

We expect a lot of law enforcement, and there is a certain selflessness that often comes with being entrusted with the public’s safety. There were many examples of that in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. But it’s hard to see charging people for value safety tips in that light.

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