Chuck McConnell: Hold all accountable
It seems as if every week there is another story about police misconduct. Sadly, the anti-police attitude is spreading across our nation.
If you listen to the national media, this sentiment appears to be justified. I think the message resonating throughout the nation is loud and clear — there must be “accountability for all.”
We the people must hold all individuals, especially those who work in the public sector, accountable for bad behavior and poor choices. Accountability is critically important when it comes to police officers, as they have an enormous amount of authority and responsibility.
This past year, Steamboat Springs has been the subject of allegations of embarrassing police misconduct and abuse. This unfortunate investigation has provided our local paper with some interesting stories replete with accusations of hostility, abusive conduct, alleged retaliation and even criminal conduct.
Clearly, if a police officer is involved in illegal activity they have no business being in law enforcement.
I, like many others, would like to have more information about the details of Nuanes’ investigation. The resignations of the police department’s top two cops as well as the resignation of the city manager suggests there is a possibility that at least some of the allegations were substantiated.
Since the story first made headlines, I admired the courage of the folks who brought the very disturbing issues to light.
After the original letter by Kleiber began to circulate, I remember when Sheriff Wiggins spoke to the city council during the open comment period where he encouraged the city to conduct an independent investigation into the matter. Sheriff Wiggins stated that when he was an employee of the police department he, too, was a witness and a victim to some of the same reported allegations.
This combined pressure eventually led to the Nuanes independent investigation being initiated. Unfortunately, this report still has not been made available for review by the city council or the public.
Throughout all of the recent drama, one thing is certain: the main obligation of law enforcement is to keep the public safe. As taxpayers, we direct significant dollars toward our various local, state and national departments to ensure we stay safe.
Sheriff Wiggins has been elected twice because of the public’s confidence in his ability to keep us safe. He has justified that confidence and succeeded in meeting that obligation.
While criticism is aimed nationwide at law enforcement officials, especially in light of events in Ferguson, Missouri, Baltimore, Maryland, and others, Sheriff Wiggins has assembled a department that has proven accountable to the folks who elected him.
We must insist on accountability for all.
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