Friday, June 12, 2009

That city actually got off quite cheaply

Six Jacksonville, Florida police officers have been fired from the force. That number of cops being dismissed all at once is unusual in itself, but the real story is when in their careers they were let go, as all six were canned for "conduct unbecoming an officer" one day after graduating from the police academy and being awarded their badges.

According to the story, a fellow recruit made allegations of improper conduct on the part of the trainees, which under investigation were apparently proven to be accurate. (The allegations haven't been made public; we suspect that it probably had something to do with academic dishonesty, given the setting.)

Kudos to that recruit for being brave and principled enough to take a stand against allowing his fellow trainees to display such official misconduct before they were even done with their training, and special "props" must go to Sheriff John Rutherford for not allowing such tainted officers to spend even one day in his department.

As always, though, a representative from the ubiquitous police union has to pipe up and proceed to embarrass themselves and their profession in a spectacular manner:

"Fraternal Order of Police President Nelson Cuba said typical recruits train for at least six months and the sheriff's offices spends a minimum of $50,000-$60,000 per person to train the recruits.

Cuba said he has not been privy to the information surrounding the investigation, but he said the Fraternal Order of Police would be heavily involved in helping the recruits if what he has heard turns out to be true."

Mr. Cuba admits that he doesn't even know what the recruits did, save for some scuttlebutt, but he's nonetheless prepared to go to the mat for them no matter what they did. There's that annoyingly institutionalized "blue wall of silence" popping up once again.

Oh, and Mr. Cuba? $50,000 per officer times six being flushed down the drain is admittedly an expensive pill to swallow for now, but that number pales in comparison to the multi-million dollar judgments a bad cop's actions can cost a city, and is really insignificant when weighed against a department's reputation for employing good, honest, service-oriented officers, which is priceless.

It's a real shame that we have to explain that to you, sir.

No comments: