Monday, August 26, 2013

P.S. to Bill McClellan

Hopefully you had a chance to read Bill McClellan's column today in the Post-Dispatch.  Even as kids, my dad told us that people will have a good time with our last name and the word it rhymes with.  Well played Bill, well played. 

At any rate, you might guess that those who feel threatened by this whole situation aren't just going to sit back and see what happens.  I had a front row seat when they went after Chief Jerry Lee.  I've seen this movie.  Back then, they also went after the employees in the police department.  Suddenly, our requests for training and travel were being denied.  Officer misconduct was being purposely leaked.  The price you pay for speaking out.  Chief Lee is a decent and honorable man, but he knew he had to give in so they wouldn't continue to interfere with the operations and reputation of his department.

My own experience of how this works is when I became vocal about speed cameras.  Those who felt threatened when I called for a county-wide vote to ban the cameras hired a political research company to review my taxes, work expenditures and anything else they could find to discredit me or the police department.  Those who actually hired the research company would never ask for the records themselves.  They hide behind a political research company, so nobody will know who's paying them.  That's how this stuff works.  

The best they could come up with is the fact that I promoted several officers who were named in a 2008 lawsuit that the county counselor's office settled out of court for $46,000.  This was a case where it was alleged that the officers used force and the suspect died.  Really?  Do you think if the officers actually caused a death, any plaintiff's lawyer would have settled for $46,000? 

The political researcher wrote his own news story about the lawsuit and promotions and anonymously mailed it to the Post-Dispatch, along with a "rumor" that I was contemplating running for county executive.  Good one.  That's the best he could come up with?  The political consultant is a former Post-Dispatch reporter and is known for his skill in research.  Somebody was paying him good money to find dirt on me.  He paid $250 just for my travel records.  You haven't seen a story about my travel records, so one can assume I didn't go to Hawaii on the county's dime.

So, here we go again.  More requests last week for my travel records, expenses, etc.  The people doing it this time should get with the political researcher from last year and compare notes.  It will save county government employees a lot of time.  If they can't successfully find some scandal about me, they will do their best to find misdeeds of my family and/or the 1,100 employees who belong to the county police family.  I wish them all the luck in the world.  

Here's some news for them; we are not perfect, but neither are they.  We can withstand the scrutiny.  This is a dirty game, but it's the only way they know how to play it.  They go after those who are disloyal or threaten the status quo.  You can bet that I'll keep you posted as the games continue.

In the meantime, you can count on us to continue to work hard to keep our community safe and serve the needs of our citizens.  Thank you for your support!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Police Officer's Duty

After 33 years working full-time in this business, I'll have to admit, this past week was one of the toughest.  It's right up there with the two times I had to use deadly force in the line of duty - and those were life or death situations.  Making a tough decision like I did a few days ago is even more dangerous for a police chief than being in a shoot-out with a suspect.  At least with a suspect, you have great training in advance for the event and can wear body armor to prevent death or injury.   
Doesn't sound quite right does it?
In any event, it's time that we review the solemn oath of a Police Officer:
On my honor,
I will never betray my badge,
my integrity, my character,
or the public trust.
I will always have
the courage to hold myself
and others accountable for our actions.
I will always uphold the constitution
my community and the agency I serve.
Before any officer takes the Law Enforcement Oath of Honor, it is important that he/she understands what it means. An oath is a solemn pledge someone makes when he/she sincerely intends to do what he/she says.  Our oath is a heavy burden.
Honor means that one's word is given as a guarantee.
Betray is defined as breaking faith with the public trust.
Integrity is being the same person in both private and public life.
Character means the qualities that distinguish an individual.
Public trust is a charge of duty imposed in faith toward those you serve.
Courage is having the strength to withstand unethical pressure, fear or danger.
Accountability means that you are answerable and responsible to your oath of office.

Now you know why I made the decision I made.