The story of alleged police brutality {Metro, Oct. 13} contains two bizarre statements by Walter Bader, president of Montgomery County's Fraternal Order of Police. According to Mr. Bader, the wife of a Montgomery County police officer was assaulted while leaving a drugstore. Later that evening the off-duty officer confronted a man in front of the store and allegedly battered him with his gun.

Mr. Bader's assertion that the officer was "responding" to an alleged offense, does not stand scrutiny. The avenue for redress of a criminal wrong under our justice system is the same for this officer as it is for any citizen. The police, acting in their official on-duty capacity, do the responding to determine if probable cause exists to believe that a crime has been committed and by whom. Then, armed with a warrant, police arrest the suspect, and the judicial process ensues. That's how it's done -- no matter who you are or how heated you may be.

When an officer's family is victimized outside of his presence, police departments do not give the officer the right to take action against the alleged offender. The potential for escalation exists, and at least one gun is available.

My husband has been a police officer for 34 years. When a member of our family is victimized, he calls 911; we want professionals with cooler heads to handle it. Confrontations are avoided, and the integrity of any prosecution is not jeopardized.

Mr. Bader is further quoted, apparently in defense of the officer, as saying "Our families come ahead of the badge." Is that so? The badge is the law. We are a nation of laws, not of men. This type of Wild West comment does nothing to enhance public confidence in an officer's impartiality. And it mocks the oath that all officers take: to uphold the law. Heaven help us if anyone -- including Fraternal Order of Police presidents -- is allowed to arbitrarily determine what a police badge means and how the law shall be applied.

MARGARET JACOCKS

Kensington