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Editorial: Distressing news, but think of those handling the investigative work

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opinion River Falls, 54022
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

The apparent murders of three River Falls sisters in their home last week has gripped and stunned all of us. We read the latest accounts and see the victims' pictures and experience shock, horror and then disbelief.

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At the same time there are people in law enforcement, led by the River Falls Police Department, who were first on the gruesome crime scene and who continue to gather and piece together evidence for the murder trial of the girls' father.

This painstaking work by police has gone on for some long days and nights, including through the weekend. Meanwhile, the triple homicide is not the only major case to rattle our community.

Four days earlier on July 6, police were called to an apartment for a double stabbing that resulted in the death of a 22-year-old man. A suspect was arrested, jailed, and then ultimately released.

That case has some ambiguities because it may be argued that the stabbing suspect acted in self-defense, both for himself and his sister. Both were in his apartment when two men pursuing the sister came in through a window.

As the knife stabbing/fatality investigation was still in high gear, the triple homicide happened, diverting the time and resources of the stretched-thin River Falls police.

Lest we forget, officers not only had these two big cases to investigate and solve, but were responsible for handling a daily routine of calls that never lets up: Hit-and-runs, accidents, batteries, disorderly conducts, speeding, underage drinking, drunk driving, driving without owner's consent, welfare checks, emergency detentions, found property, criminal damage to property, illegal discharge of fireworks, taking custody of stray animals, harassment, thefts, warrant arrests, to name the most common.

Further, while all this unfolds, the biggest local event of the year was scheduled to start in the form of River Falls Days. That 3 ½ day event results in a large spike of incidents that require timely and professional police responses.

Police Chief Roger Leque typically leads the River Falls Days Friday night parade in a squad car. This time, with a heavy heart and much work still remaining, he bowed out. The parade was instead led by the River Falls Fire Department. Patrol officers, however, including reserves, as always covered the parade route, providing security.

It hasn't been easy being a cop in River Falls this month. Give our police credit for the steady work they've done, still have to do and must do every day to keep our community safe.

Online Poll: Decision brings pleasure/b>

The Journal's online poll question this week asked: Are you pleased or displeased with the city's recent decision to shut down the parking meters for a year?

Early results show: PLEASED, 92.5%; DISPLEASED, 7.5%. Add your vote by going to www.riverfallsjournal.com

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