11/02/2011

'U raise 'em, we cage 'em' t-shirts draw criticism

Association President Arlin Kocher said the shirts were a mistake

Associated Press

NORTH HIGHLANDS, Calif. — A Northern California school police officers union has angered a town after it sold T-shirts with a picture of a child behind bars and the slogan: "U raise `em, we cage `em."

Town leaders said the fundraising shirts are highly offensive and fuel mistrust of the Twin Rivers Police Department in North Highlands, the Sacramento Bee reported Tuesday.

"Unfortunately, this shirt seems to confirm that this is who Twin Rivers Police are and how they think, or at least some of them," Derrell Roberts said. "This doesn't speak highly of the culture of this department."

The Twin Rivers Police Officers Association officials said they came up with the T-shirt idea in 2009 to raise money for fallen officers. Less than 30 shirts were ordered and most were sold for $12 to union members.

Association President Arlin Kocher said the shirts were a mistake and that the union stopped selling them this summer at the police chief's request.

"I don't think this will be received well by the public, which is why we stopped selling them," Kocher said. "Our union, especially me, take full responsibility."

The Sacramento-area department has been under increasing scrutiny since one of its officers was shot four times on Oct. 22. The suspected shooter died hours later.

The department, which has 20 sworn officers, has had three cases in which officers shot and wounded suspects in the past two years, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Twin Rivers Unified Superintendent Frank Porter, who oversees the police department, said officials are meeting to decide whether to take disciplinary action.

"I am deeply disappointed that any of our employees would produce anything like that, even in their off time," Porter said.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press

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