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Editorial: Small news a big deal

You’ll read this week on the front page about an unusual case of discord in Bethlehem’s Police Department.

The long and short of it is really more of the latter than the former. The union representing Bethlehem police officers (sergeants and lieutenants) has sued the union representing its patrol officers for cash the two allegedly raised jointly over several years (or didn’t, depending upon whom you believe).

We’re bringing you the facts of this case because they’re a matter of public information and public interest. We’d accompany them with a reminder that we don’t have any reason to believe this tiff extends into the operations of the police department itself, and as Police Benevolent Association President Scott Anson is quoted as saying in our story, there’s no reason this can’t be worked out in the courts.

As far as we can tell, this is a case of a misunderstanding that’s grown out of hand. The folks involved in this litigation are largely declining to comment or couldn’t (or wouldn’t) be reached, which makes it more difficult to grasp the scope of the disagreement and exactly how much money is at stake here.

What gets lost in the noise a lot of the time when it comes to stories like these is the day-to-day operations of the department, which for the most part are conducted by people trying to do their best in difficult situations. We likewise do the best we can to bring our readers the news of these stories — the good and the bad, the big and the small — as best we can.

Regular readers of The Spotlight know that while Bethlehem is altogether a very safe town, it’s not so sleepy as to be devoid of the occasional big crime headline.

In the midst of these, it might be easy to forget that police officers spend a lot of time doing things like helping people who are locked out of their cars, responding to quality-of-life issues and directing traffic when a signal light goes out. These instances don’t make it into the paper very often because — well, because they happen every day.

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