Editorial: Bad acts of one shouldn't spoil reserves' reputation
A police uniform carries with it a certain level of reassurance, even if the person is volunteering his time.
That is why the news of sexual misconduct charges against a former Rosemount police reservist are especially disturbing. This man who has been convicted once of having a sexual relationship with an underage boy and now faces similar charges for a second incident has at one time or another served as a symbol of protection -- of law and order -- for this community.
It is an unfortunate connection, and one we hope does not reflect poorly on the police department as a whole and the volunteer reserves in particular. The reservists offer their time to do a largely thankless job helping sworn officers with crowd control or directing traffic. They do it because they want to give back to their community or because they enjoy police work. Some go on to become full-time officers.
The police department does background checks on all reserve officers, and Rosemount police chief Gary Kalstabakken said James Lucier's check came out clean. There were no signs in his work for the police department that he was doing anything improper.
Sometimes even thorough background checks can't catch every potential problem.
None of the acts Lucier is accused of committing is tied to his work with the Rosemount Police Department. It was a mentorship program through his full-time job that put Lucier in contact with the boy with whom he is accused of having a sexual relationship.
Still, the connection with the RPD remains. That's understandable. When it comes to following the rule of law police officers -- even part-time officers -- should be held to a higher standard.
But we know many of the reserve officers who volunteer their time with the RPD. We believe they are committed to helping the public. And we hope the bad actions of one man will not make others trust them less.