It’s wrong to reward officers for arrests

Is the arrest bounty back? Recently, in a front-page story in The Buffalo News, it was reported that the U.S. Border Patrol has a little-known program that rewards officers with “incentives and rewards” for arrests, including cash and gift cards. This policy “casts doubt over the fairness of each arrest,” stated Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. I support wholeheartedly a strong policing policy of our borders, but was surprised and disappointed to hear of this policy and believe it is wrong.

Believe it or not, Western New York had a similar policy in force many years ago. Jack London, arguably America’s greatest author, was arrested for vagrancy while visiting Niagara Falls in June of 1894. This arrest resulted in his incarceration in the Erie County Penitentiary for 30 days. The officer who collared London profited with a monetary bounty bonus for the arrest. Apparently the officer who arrested him was working on commission. Perhaps the arrest bounty is making a 21st century comeback of sorts.

Michael R. Castanza

West Seneca