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."
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.