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Don't Raise the Bridge -- Lower the Water

By Nick Guerrera · June 10th, 1999 · Street Cops
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Cincinnati City Manager John Shirey has delved into the world of "diversity" big time.

In doing so, he has shown little respect toward the city's police officers. His motto appears to be "penalize profusely and fire if you can." He strives to engender the type of diversity that keeps the pressure groups from his door.

The police division has been the focus of a social experiment at City Hall for quite some time. Only the outspoken opposition by people such as Keith Fangman, Fraternal Order of Police president, has foiled the experiment's full adoption into the world of social services thereby making police officers assume the role of social worker, in addition to all the other roles they seem to be expected to fill every time scrutiny follows a controversial incident.

Now there is nothing wrong with social work in its own setting, but the majority of police work is not in that setting.

The recent brouhaha concerning the Cincinnati Police Academy and the five recruits who failed to meet the minimum standards required to complete the training course is another scapegoat episode that seems to haunt the division. And it's another example of how the manager handles the police and their actions.

When recruits enter the academy, they sign a contract stating they will maintain an accepted standard. In that contract, they agree that if the standards are sub-par, they will face expulsion. Five recruits were below par, but instead of being terminated, a decision was made to let them continue with the testing process anyway.

The media have been professing that this is all the idea of Ted Schoch, academy director. But whoever thinks this is true is naive. Something this volatile doesn't rest with a person three or four notches down the food chain. He doesn't have the horsepower to make such a contentious decision. No, I believe this scheme came right from the office of the manager, who is striving to preserve diversity through a quota system.

It's widely rumored that top city administrators get a bonus if the city's Affirmative Action plan is adhered to.

Who would refuse a nice stipend for the sake of being fair? To heck with the kid who scored an 85 percent grade, let's hire the minority with a 70 percent. Then, the administration wonders why divisiveness -- instead of diversity -- spreads throughout the police force.

Much has been made of the theory of some that even though applicants for positions are below par, they should be accepted in order to foster diversity. That might be safe in some areas. Surely a "greeter" at Wal-Mart is not in a position where his actions might mean life or death. But in a profession that involves people's safety -- much like a firefighter or even a doctor -- a police officer who cannot maintain minimum standards at the academy poses a danger to himself and others.

Citizens realize this and show it by looking at these people in a different light. Police officers for one are visible and held up to scrutiny. This is not a bad thing in itself. When an incident occurs in the police ranks, it usually gets front-page coverage and, in many instances, it should. If the people in those important positions can't cut the mustard, they should be shown the door. Too many lives depend on their expertise. Whenever an incident occurs such as a shooting or serious auto accident, the vocal minority and other pressure groups come out and beat their collective chests and issue demands along with their usual cry. And what is that cry? Why it's the old saw of "more training and more diversity." So, the division includes more training related to the incident and of course, more diversity.

But what happens when members of the diverse group can't comprehend the training? What a dilemma! What to do, what to do!

The reasonable and most logical tact to follow would be to invoke the contract and dismiss the recruit who cannot comprehend the study material. No matter what the recruit's race or sex is, this city and its citizens deserve nothing less than officers who can meet the requirements. Heaven knows we pay for it.

But no, that wouldn't be the prudent -- or the P.C. -- route to follow. Don't forget the alleged bonus might be in jeopardy. The city administration leans on the police as it usually does and lo and behold, the contract, which was signed and agreed to, is moot.

"Give them a second chance" is echoed throughout the politically correct community.

I sincerely hope it doesn't occur, but if one of those five becomes involved in an "incident," what a field day the media and some vulture-type lawyer will have with a lawsuit holding the city liable for putting an unqualified officer on the street.

It's not the positive thing to do, and I hope public outcry changes the plans of the administration. But I doubt it will.

· · ·

The Office of Municipal Investigations' (OMI) report is out regarding the shooting by two Cincinnati police officers of a subject they stopped in Northside.

The report was whisked right through the OMI office at breakneck speed. Even a "cut-and-dried" shooting situation involving Officer Katy Conway took this outfit 15 months to "investigate" and issue a report. The Northside shooting was very involved and raised many questions, but it took only two months for OMI to condemn and find fault with one officer while the results of three other investigations remain pending. Did anyone see a kangaroo in the 801 Plum St. area?

When you read the report, you see that the investigators had only one "independent" witness, and he has been muzzled by the family's lawyer. All other witnesses they interviewed said they were in bed and heard the gunshots. By the time they got out of bed and looked out their windows, the situation was over. But that's all it takes to denounce a police officer -- supposition. Put the pressure on and cook up the guilt. I wonder if the chef really was OMI or was this report dished up by a ghostwriter who happens to be up for review by city council in the near future?

Shirey tells council, "Yes folks, I'm doing a great job -- I nailed another white police officer. Give me a raise."

 
 
 
 

 

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