CRIME STOCK
FILE

We all should feel a strong sense of civic duty to aid police in reporting crimes we witness or to which we have knowledge.

But playing cop and physically chasing down the bad guys, rather than leaving the tasks to trained professionals, isn't good civics.

It's a shortsighted act that can threaten human life and create an even bigger problem for police.

We have no doubt two Region men meant well when they took it upon themselves to "help" LaPorte police catch two suspected drunken drivers during the New Year's holiday weekend.

One man reportedly chased a driver on foot and ended up holding the suspect until officers could arrive on scene. Another pursued a suspect in his vehicle until police arrested that suspect.

LaPorte Police Capt. Bill Degnegaard rightly reminded the public to report, but not become involved in, pursuits or detainment of criminal suspects.

Among many hazards, one never knows whether suspects are carrying guns or pose other dangerous tendencies.

Becoming involved in this capacity can lead to more injury or death — and may, in itself, be a crime.

"You don't know if they're armed with anything. You don't know what type of abilities they have. It's better to just let the police handle that," Degnegaard said following the two weekend arrests.

We all should be rightly concerned, and even disgusted, by the illegal activity in our communities.

Becoming involved in neighborhood watches and calling 911 to report crimes or suspicious activity witnessed are constructive ways we all can help our local police departments keep us safer.

Remember to stick to those roles, and let police do the jobs for which they've been trained.

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Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Local News Editor Marc Chase, Lake County Editor Crista Zivanovic, Porter/LaPorte County Editor Doug Ross and Deputy Local Editor Erin Orr.