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Treat people of color fairly

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Regarding Gus Thomson’s article on Feb. 12: “Placer supes to act on COPS grant deputy hiring,” I am concerned by this language: “… the new deputies aren’t destined for regular patrol duties. Instead, they’re going to be part of a multi-agency project with several goals to tackle illegal drug use. As part of the grant, the Sheriff’s Office will be utilizing the new deputies to develop stronger links with minority communities, strengthening law enforcement relationships with schools and introducing The Drug Store, a new anti-drug program in middle schools.” As a member of an ongoing Placer People of Faith Together clergy voice, I am part of that group’s study of the ways in which the law enforcement and legal systems skew unfairly against people of color. Am I correct in reading an underlying assumption for the deputies’ new duties is that ethnic minorities are most likely to use drugs illegally? In fact, they are no more likely to do so than the majority white population. I applaud the agencies’ goal to develop stronger links with those segments of our community, which is all to the good, but care needs to be taken, in training and in action, that this does not become a program which skews law enforcement efforts against our brothers and sisters of color. Jesus’ example of social justice, which I follow as a Christian minister, demands nothing less of us. THE Rev. Gerry Paulsen, New Faith United Church of Christ, Auburn