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Officer's Past Is Cause for Shame

August 31, 1999

In response to H.G. Reza's article titled "To Serve and Sacrifice" (Aug. 15), I do not dispute whether Jose Vargas, a police officer with the Santa Ana Police Department, is a good law enforcement officer. His record appears to speak for itself. What I dispute is the fact that he is able to have ever become a police officer, given his criminal history. I am speaking of his many illegal entries into the U.S. from Mexico. This is a classic example of how muddled the difference between right and wrong has become. It used to be that most people had shame for the crimes they committed and would understandably conceal this fact. However, Officer Vargas apparently has no shame for his criminal past and, in fact, is celebrated in Reza's article.

I suspect that the root of my disgust with this matter lies with its irony. Officer Vargas is celebrated as a fine law enforcement officer. Meanwhile, other law enforcement officers, namely U.S. Border Patrol Agents, are being assaulted and killed on an all-too-frequent basis while apprehending offenders of the very crime that Officer Vargas committed. I find some solace in the fact that Officer Vargas would today be barred from employment as a police officer due to his criminal history.

--CHRISTOPHER MARTIN HIRT

Riverside

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