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Emily and I gabbed a bit with our in-studio guests after the gang show today. It turns out that this cop (Dave Benson, with the Portland Police Department) and corrections officer (Mike Beagan, with the Oregon DOC) sound a lot more like social workers than you might guess from their badges. Mike talked about the importance of family structures, and Dave kept coming back to the problems of teen pregnancy. He told us that the if he were social-engineer-for-a-day, the most important thing he would do is cut down on young people having babies before they're ready to be responsible parents.
So I asked him if the Portland Police Department should be handing out condoms. He paused, and took a deep breath. (Apparently it's not a question he hears too often.) He finally noted that maybe condom distribution shouldn't be included in a cop's daily beat. And then he added that, in any case, Portland residents might be more understanding of such a tactic than Oregonians in other parts of the state... where police might be expected to hand out abstinence contracts instead.
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