Our Opinion: Time to speak up

Published 10:36 am Thursday, November 14, 2013

It is now more than one year since five people were wounded by gunfire at a dance at Lansing Corners Event Center, and police are no closer to finding out who pulled the trigger.

Five people were shot on a Saturday night, all of whom went to the hospital, and none of whom could give deputies valuable information. Worse, there were more than 100 people at that dance, and none of them would give decent information to Mower County Sheriff’s deputies.

It’s relatively easy to guess why that is: The people who know what happened that night haven’t cooperated.

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Mower County Sheriff Terese Amazi was frank in her assessment shortly after the Nov. 10, 2012 shooting. She said the shooting was likely gang-related and none of the party-goers were cooperating with police inquiries, which soon led to a dead end in the investigation.

Though we encourage local residents who were at Lansing Corners that night to step forward and share what they know, we believe there’s a bigger lesson to take away: Public safety depends on everyone’s cooperation.

Cooperating with law enforcement when possible is one of the best ways to keep Austin safe, as it allows the men and women assigned to our everyday protection to carry out their duties. While it is a given that law enforcement is beholden to the public and should be held to a high standard, it’s also evident that without cooperation from residents in times of need, it’s tough for our police force to properly do its job.

Though overall crime has trended downward in recent years, serious crimes like the shooting at Lansing Corners are on the rise, and law enforcement officials have for months publicly pointed out the increase in gun-related crime in Austin and Mower County.

This is a concern all area residents need to take heed. For those who may have information on the Lansing Corners case, please contact the sheriff’s office at 507-437-9400. For those who witness a crime or see something suspicious, please report it to the Law Enforcement Center. Help make Austin and Mower County safer places to live.