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Ti debate a civil action

Ticonderogas town board struggled with the decision to provide Tasers to local police, but it had no trouble debating the issue. In fact, the discussion proved to be a bright spot for local governance. Trustees debated the issue at their June meeting with intelligence, passion and most importantly civility. It was obvious board members had done their homework and knew the issue. It was just as obvious they held strong opinions. Yet the discourse was always polite, if direct and firm. That may sound like a simple and common thing, but its not. In many cases, if not most, debate in todays society takes on a me-against-you tone that can lead to dismissing the other side with contempt. There was never a chance of that happening in Ticonderoga. As Supervisor Bob Dedrick outlined his position against the Taser purchase, it was obvious he was doing so carefully not to offend those on the other side of the issue. He repeatedly emphasized his support of the police department and the respect he has for their work. When I first heard about Tasers I was absolutely opposed, he said. When I saw the demonstration I was swayed, but Im sorry I cant support it. My heart, my gut just doesnt say yes. I want to support the police department, I want to be loyal to the police department, but I have to say no. In leading the argument for Tasers, trustee Wayne Taylor, chairman of the town emergency services committee, was equally diplomatic. He patiently acknowledged the fears of some who think Tasers could lead to police abuse, while firming rejecting the notion. I have trust in these individuals, Taylor said of the Ti PD. We hire the best people we can find, we give them the best training possible. The police came to me with this idea and I respect their opinion. Theyre the trained professionals. In the end the board voted, 3-2, to arm Ti police with Tasers. But the real winner in the debate was civil democracy. Ticonderoga leaders had an honest, heart-felt disagreement they were able to resolve without animosity. They walked away from the meeting with dignity in tact and ready for the next debate on Ticonderogas future. That future is in good hands with this board. Not because theyll always agree on the right course of action, but because theyll always agree to disagree in a cordial fashion. Ticonderogas town board has set a fine example for the community. Lets hope we can follow their lead. Fred Herbst is Times of Ti editor. He can be reached at fred@denpubs.com

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