Danger Signs

We must protect those who protect us

The shooting of Jefferson County Judge Joseph Bruzzese several weeks ago was a stark reminder of the risk those at every level of law enforcement take simply to do their jobs. Fortunately, Bruzzese is back at work while he continues to recover.

But even while he was lying in a hospital bed, another local law enforcement official, Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Jane Hanlin, was the target of an apparent attempt to intimidate her.

On Sept. 13, as she was walking toward her car after a hearing in the courthouse at Steubenville, Hanlin called police. A woman was threatening her, she reported. Police arrived quickly, and arrested the woman.

Last week, the alleged culprit was indicted on two felony counts of intimidation and retaliation.

Her boyfriend had been in court on a drug and gun charges when she allegedly threatened Hanlin. Since, he has pleaded guilty to the accusations.

The woman in question is innocent until proven guilty, of course.

But if she indeed threatened Hanlin — who, in view of what happened to Bruzzese, had every right to be worried — the woman ought to be sentenced to the maximum amount of prison time available.

In a society the very existence of which rests on enforcing the law, attempts to intimidate police, prosecutors, judges and others involved in the process cannot be tolerated. Anyone threatening or attacking those who protect us is, in effect, putting all of us in danger.