Twelve year old arrested: How often do parents call the cops to send kids a message?
A mother in Longmont recently had a simple request for local police: Arrest my twelve-year-old daughter.
This action was reportedly taken to send a message to the girl, who allegedly committed assault, although her mom had no obvious physical injuries. How often are cops asked to make such deliveries?
On August 24, according to Sean Harper, acting commander and public information officer for the Longmont Police Department, police were called to a 21st Avenue home, where the woman's son served as a translator for police, owing to her halting command of English. He told officers that the mother had intended to pick up her daughter at Heritage Middle School that day, but the girl had refused to get in the car -- so she left her in a park and split.
The daughter didn't come back for quite some time, so the mother went to work. And while the girl was home upon the mother's return, she had a friend with her -- and she apparently didn't react well when the mom forbade visitors. After the friend left, mother and daughter got into a physical confrontation, with the girl allegedly punching her mom in the face, stomach and arm -- and she might have continued the assault had her brother not intervened.
Hence the call to police -- and because this was supposed to have been the second time the girl had struck her, the mother asked for her daughter's arrest -- "to send a message," 7News reports.
How much damage did the woman sustain? Not much that could be seen. "The mother claimed to have felt physical pain during the assault," Harper says, "but there were no visible injuries." The sole evidence of an attack cited in the report: "Her shirt was stretched out during the altercation."
An arrest was ultimately made anyway -- but actions like these tend to be made based on the judgment of officers at the scene, Harper notes. And they get plenty of practice when it comes to determining the right thing to do.
"We get calls frequently from parents who need help with their child's behavior," he says. "We're happy to respond and help in any way we can."
Is that true even when their presence is intended as more of a scare tactic than due to evidence of an actual crime? "Absolutely," he says, since there aren't presently so many of these requests that officers can't keep up with their other duties.
"It's a matter of prioritization for the police department," he notes. "The needs of the citizens in the community are all important to us, and I wouldn't say other needs are suffering because we're responding to assist parents with these situations."
Apparently, most parents in Longmont can discipline their kids without assistance from the boys and girls in blue.
More from our News archive: "Eight-year-old pepper sprayed by cops: Officers made "great" choice, says police spokesman."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Westword's biggest stories.