Reinforcing Faith In Law Enforcement

Most of us have seen the video recordings of suspects in crimes being placed into police or sheriffs’ cruisers. Even those accused of horrific offenses are treated carefully, to the point officers and deputies often use their hands to keep suspects from bumping their heads as they get into the cruisers.

Former Hancock County Sheriff’s Lt. Mark Cowden behaved very differently toward a man arrested on a drunken driving charge two years ago, a federal jury found last fall. Cowden was found guilty of depriving the man of his rights by shoving him face-first into a brick wall and punching him in the head.

Now, Cowden has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for his actions.

Other law enforcement officers and deputies  — many if not all of whom have had to restrain themselves after being goaded by suspects — should be happy with the outcome.

It should reinforce the public’s faith in the law enforcement community, by demonstrating that on the rare occasions when authority is abused, deputies and police officers themselves will take the lead in getting bad apples out of their ranks.