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Deputies Drinking and Carrying Guns

December 22, 1996

* Regarding your Dec. 15 story about the attempt to prohibit off-duty deputies from carrying guns while drinking:

Has the Sheriff's Department (and other law enforcement agencies for that matter) abandoned the practice of assessing recruits' mental stability, judgment and maturity before hiring them? The cases referred to all involve individuals who demonstrated remarkably poor judgment and a junior-high-school maturity level. Expecting this type of person to exercise good judgment when drinking is only slightly more ridiculous than expecting it when they are sober.

Prohibiting the responsible majority of deputies from carrying guns when they stop to have a beer or two would do no good and in some cases would leave deputies unable to stop crimes in progress. The real solution (and the real story) involves the irresponsible few who probably wouldn't abide by such a requirement, anyway. Why were they hired in the first place?

PAUL YBARRONDO

Loma Linda

* Why on earth should we need a court order for something so obvious? If there were any intelligent life in the Sheriff's Department, this sort of thing would have been made grounds for summary termination long ago.

The idea that someone who is not capable of safely handling a black-and-white sedan is competent to wave around a loaded pistol is preposterous. In the same manner that ordinary citizens are encouraged to appoint a designated driver when drinking with friends, perhaps the deputies could have a "designated shooter" when they party, leaving their car keys and their artillery in the care of the bartender.

ROBERT E. GOYETTE

Rolling Hills Estates

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