Police Department Capt. Scott Rotolo spoke to the Wayne County Housing Coalition about differences in what people want from police and what police do.
Oftentimes, he said, he hears people asking questions like “when are you going to do something about that drug house?”
Rotolo said he hears people say they wish the department would kick down the doors of drug houses and arrest everyone.
“I do absolutely respect the frustration people have,” he said and added while he does not want to diminish the frustration, that is not how the department operates.
Rotolo said when he started at the Wooster Police Department he took an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution and the laws of the state.
“If I did what that person wanted me to do … I would not be upholding that oath,” he said.
Additionally, Rotolo said, officers are tasked with upholding the agency’s mission statement. Composed of four goals, the mission statement details how the police should partner with the community, strive to be ethical, professional and full of integrity, hold employees in high regard all the while protecting and preserving life.
While working ethically, professionally and with integrity preclude police officers from busting down drug house doors and arresting people, Rotolo said, “we are doing all we can with drug houses in this city.”
Housing Coalition member Diane DeRue of The Counseling Center said she agrees and it is clear Medway Drug Enforcement Agency and the police are doing plenty of police work in regard to drug activity.
“We just had that huge, wonderful drug bust,” she said, referring to the drug bust May 22. “I think people don’t realize that probably took tons and tons and tons of time and commitment.”
Rotolo said the busts take a significant amount of time, explaining those involved worked on it for about six months in advance.
While the department’s mission statement is integral to its operations with drug busts, he said it is something that is present in all operations. Rotolo said one aspect of its mission that a lot of emphasis is placed upon is involvement in the community.
“I think we are doing a pretty good job interacting with the community,” Rotolo said.
The department recently finished its first Citizens Police Academy. He said the event was aimed at getting community members familiarized with police officers and helping them to understand what a day in the life of an officer is like.
Making sure the department is addressing the goals of the mission statement by doing tangible things like the Citizens Police Academy, Rotolo said, is an important thing for the department to do.
“If not — they are just words on a page,” he said.