Warning Graphic Content Ahead...
Tonight is likely to be a really hard board meeting. I fully expect to be presented a very one sided case that will attempt to discredit and destroy the reputation and career of decent man. While I expect there will be all sorts of revelations in a Jerry Springer style circus, I feel it is important to consider the source, the sales pitch, and the goal.
As of this morning, not all of the board members have received the summary report written by the questioning lawyer from our village attorney's law firm. As of this morning, at least some of the board members have not received a transcript or a recording of the interview with our police chief. In order to make a reasoned and fair decision, would you not expect that the board be given the tools to evaluate this on their own?
It appears to be the method of our administration that a limited set of 'facts' are presented, a case is made, and the board, with limited to no questions, rubber stamps the agenda. While it is annoying and fiscally irresponsible when we are talking about vactor trucks and irrigation wells, it is morally reprehensible when you are talking about people, their careers, and their reputations. It's downright illegal when it is in the wake of complaints about the current administration and against those who stepped up to complain.
Lest we forget, the source of this investigation are the very people who have had similar and worse complaints against them. No, not the people who made the complaints; but the ones driving the result. Remember it wasn't long ago, that we were told there was nothing to see here with regard to the complaints against the CAO and the President as a result of a laughably shallow and unprofessional investigation. Additionally, we need to remember that the behavior that chief has been accused of is similar to behavior we have also seen from our Board President, some of the Trustees and our CAO.
One of the many things I don't understand is this idea that Chief Richardson isn't good for Lakewood. I don't want a police department that's one step above mall cop. I want a well trained, competent police force. I want one that understands the difference in enforcing criminal law and building codes -- and the risks to both the village and to the officers personally should they overstep that boundary. I want Lakewood to be a safe community who is respected by our neighbors. From what I've seen Chief Richardson did more to ensure that than any of our current Village Officers have done.
I believe that tonight will be theater of the absurd, designed to try to vilify our current chief. I believe, that as a spectator, staying silent (which is required) will take Herculean effort. I believe that ultimately the truth will really come out -- sadly, I think it will cost us as taxpayers to get there. I believe we have a divided Lakewood, far more divided than east-side and west-side. I believe the only real solution to this division is change.