Local police sacrificed for war

I came across this Government Technology “Point of View” editorial today regarding the cost of the war in Iraq to civilians here at home. Many communities depend on federal funding to provide salaries for law enforcement officers and personnel, but the funding is being diverted to the war in Iraq.

The editorial references the Government Technology article, “Vanishing Act.” It’s an article about how funding is diverted from community policing to the war efforts and homeland security. As a result, crime is up (although, admittedly, there are other factors), and police departments are forced to revert to reactionary methods of policing versus the proactive benefits of community policing. Additionally, many police officers are also military soldiers and are now serving in the war.

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Milwaukee County strengthens smoking ban

If there’s one thing about which I agree with County Executive Scott Walker, it’s strengthening the smoking ban around county buildings. He recently passed a new executive order banning smoking from within 30 feet of all county buildings, including Mitchell International Airport, and he is now pushing the county board to pass a county ordinance to make this permanent.

I know that smokers are all for safer locations to smoke, especially during the brutal Wisconsin winters. But it’s not a question of pushing them out or forcing them to quit; it’s a matter of public health, especially with health care costs increasing steeply.

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Illinois becomes smoke-free

Last month, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich signed into law a bill that makes the state smoke-free. This means that smokers will not be allowed to smoke in almost any public building.

There are exceptions. According to the Chicago Tribune, smokers can smoke in private homes (at least the freedom to smoke isn’t banned altogether), as long as a day care or any public business is not conducted in the same space. Furthermore, “They can smoke in designated rooms in nursing homes and hotels, according to the law. They can smoke in tobacco stores, as long as 80 percent of the store’s revenue comes from the sale of tobacco.”

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