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  • Small Town Politics

    Question - Have any of you had to deal with any small town/village politics during your career?

    I am currently on a department as an auxiliary/reserve officer while I wait for the academy to start this fall. Saturday night my partner stopped a vehicle that went left of center multiple times, so he initiated a stop to find a truck full of younger adults drunk (it was 3 am mind you). The driver admitted to drinking "3-4" beers over a few hour time period. After FST my partner believes it would be best to have a someone sober come pick the bunch up and drive the truck home. One of the passengers called his father to pick them up, lone behold that father just happened to be a council member and head of the police committee. He proceeded to cuss my partner out and question why he even initiated the stop, threaten his job, and told him he is going to have "hell to pay when Monday comes"...

    How would you guys handle this situation?

    Thanks in advance.


  • #2
    Originally posted by DefyOrdinary View Post
    Question - Have any of you had to deal with any small town/village politics during your career?...How would you guys handle this situation?...
    Yes, I have dealt with that during my career.

    I would tell the Chief, so he knows what might be coming.

    After that, you let the guy vent. I wouldn't do anything more. They should be grateful that nobody is being charged.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by DefyOrdinary View Post
      Question - Have any of you had to deal with any small town/village politics during your career?

      I am currently on a department as an auxiliary/reserve officer while I wait for the academy to start this fall. Saturday night my partner stopped a vehicle that went left of center multiple times, so he initiated a stop to find a truck full of younger adults drunk (it was 3 am mind you). The driver admitted to drinking "3-4" beers over a few hour time period. After FST my partner believes it would be best to have a someone sober come pick the bunch up and drive the truck home. One of the passengers called his father to pick them up, lone behold that father just happened to be a council member and head of the police committee. He proceeded to cuss my partner out and question why he even initiated the stop, threaten his job, and told him he is going to have "hell to pay when Monday comes"...

      How would you guys handle this situation?

      Thanks in advance.
      Please tell me he has all of it on dash cam!!

      Comment


      • DefyOrdinary
        DefyOrdinary commented
        Editing a comment
        Yes, everything is on dash cam. Thankfully.

    • #4
      Why didn’t he just arrest the blatantly drunk driver?
      Now go home and get your shine box!

      Comment


      • DefyOrdinary
        DefyOrdinary commented
        Editing a comment
        He had the driver do FST, and came to the conclusion that he was on the border of being over the limit. The closest breathalyzer is 40 minutes one way from where we were.

    • #5
      Tell your chief, and let him know that you expect something to be done. Wait for the chief to speak with the mayor, and see what they have to say. Not addressing it emboldens the *** clown; I would not just let it drop without a resolution.

      Was the driver impaired or not? If they can't drive, they get arrested. If they can, they can. Calling for rides is a very bad practice to get in to. I recall doing it once, and that was because an elderly man was on a new medication that was messing him up, so I wasn't going to skin him for that.
      Last edited by just joe; 05-20-2019, 09:41 AM.

      Comment


      • DefyOrdinary
        DefyOrdinary commented
        Editing a comment
        Honestly, from my untrained perspective on the side of the road, he didn't seem to be impaired. My partner, on the other hand, believed it was best to have him call for a sober driver to come to get them (COYA type of deal I'm sure)

      • PeteBroccolo
        PeteBroccolo commented
        Editing a comment
        I "get" the not-arresting, given the time-lag from scene to test site; I was a breath-tech, so would do my own, if another member was not available, but did, shamefully, also let the odd borderline driver go with a sober driver without further action, given such time-lag.
        The town council member is DEFINITELY an a w h s e h a t, and I am picturing the outcome of that member-to-Chief-to-Mayor tete-a-tete as coming up, at best, with nothing being done.
        Regarding the gent on new meds, sounds like THAT could have been handled by a letter to the DL issuing authority suggesting a medical review.

    • #6
      He's just 1 council member. **** him! I would have charged him with disorderly conduct or witness intimidation.

      I also would have charged the drunks or called the state patrol to take over the stop, if I felt there would be any perception of special treatnent or bias. IMO he made things worse by letting them go like that and emboldened the ******* council member.

      I work in a small town and have encountered council members on the street or at calls. I never let them intimidate me and just done my job.
      Last edited by westside popo; 05-20-2019, 03:10 PM.

      Comment


      • #7
        Your partner can tell Mr. Councilman that he had three pick-up options for his son:

        1) Pick him up from jail after being arrested for DUI.
        2) Pick him up from the morgue after being let go and wrecking.
        3) Pick him up from the side of the road and take him home.

        Would he have preferred option 1 or 2?

        Comment


        • #8
          I was a small town chief for nearly 7 years at the end of my career. Municipal elections were held every 2 years, so I was blessed with having to deal with a total of 4 completely different city councils (7 at a time). Each new council member seemed to have an axe to grind or some special project to pursue, and they either found out they couldn't get what they wanted or they got what they wanted, but in either event that marked the end of their interest in local government.

          Naturally, just about everyone thinks they know the business of law enforcement better than any cop, regardless of experience or education. Very few council members did not want serious changes in police operations, procedures, policies, etc.

          Once had a demanding council member get in my face about an arrest (his step-son), demanding that the case be dropped and the record destroyed with threats to get me fired. I photocopied the state statutes "Attempting to Influence a Public Servant" and "Intimidating a Witness" (low-grade felonies good for a couple of years in prison and a few thousand in fines), gave that to him in a sealed envelope. That put a stop to his nonsense.

          Another council member was openly prejudiced against a certain minority community, always complaining about the kids playing in the alley behind his house. I pointed out to him that alleys are public ways, just like city streets and sidewalks, not private property subject to homeowner control. He became very angry, insisted that if I just shot a few of them that would put a stop to the problem. I asked him (during an open council meeting) to put that in writing, because if I was going down for a criminal homicide he was going to catch at least a conspiracy charge.

          One council member demanded that I appoint all council members as special officers and issue firearms. I pointed her toward a regional community college offering the basic peace officer certification classes, requiring only 2 semesters full-time study and costs of about $9,000 at the time.

          A new mayor (business owner) demanded that I change scheduling to put a majority of officers on overnight shifts to act as security guards on the local businesses. I could not get the council to back me up, so I did precisely what he demanded. At the next monthly council meeting I presented a payroll report reflecting overtime for officers having to respond to daytime call-outs, appear in court, and other requirements, and the overtime was nearly the same as the monthly payroll amount. Half the patrol vehicles were down for repairs or maintenance because there was no one on duty during business hours to get the work done. Also, an attempted parental kidnapping at the local elementary school happened during a time that no one was on duty and a call-out response took over an hour. That put a stop to interfering with my scheduling plan.

          Another new mayor (retired school teacher) insisted that all city personnel must be "will and pleasure" employees, no more employment contracts. After a couple of months of debates the council voted to support that demand. I packed up my personal property, turned in my retirement letter and left. A week later I had Mr. Mayor served with a civil summons demanding the 2-plus years salary and benefits on my (unilaterally cancelled) employment contract. In a meeting between the mayor, city attorney, my lawyer, and myself I was presented with an apology and request that I return with full pay, etc. I settled for lump sum payment of one year salary and benefits plus my legal fees to date (which the city attorney recognized as a bargain, compared to going to court with the fact situation laid out in writing and public records).

          I have been happily retired ever since.

          By the way, that department received several state and national awards during my administration, and was certified by the State Board for the first time in its history. I also published multiple articles on small agency administration, one of which earned me a fellowship to a university criminal justice department. I continue to serve in an advisory status on the state police chiefs association, occasionally being called on to review problems in small agencies and offer suggestions.

          Nationally, the average tenure for a police chief was about 2.5 years at that time. I made it for 6 years 10 months (2.7 times the national average).

          Comment


          • westside popo
            westside popo commented
            Editing a comment
            Some of that sounds like this place.
            Last edited by westside popo; 05-20-2019, 03:44 PM.

        • #9
          I've worked small city/village LE for all 18+ years of my career.

          There's nothing particularly strange about the scenario you've described. Personally, I agree with the above posters...if he's too intoxicated to drive, he would have gotten hooked up and his daddy could have thrown his temper tantrum while he bailed him out (I don't arrange or give rides home to drunks of any kind...it turns bad more often than not). I'm also not one to be intimidate by a little man with a big ego, so that particular politician probably would have seen the not-so-community-oriented-policing officer from me (probably why I've been on nightshift all my career).

          When it comes to small town politics, you have to learn how to show certain people boundaries. This helps if your admin backs you, but can become dangerous if they won't. I'm personally not one for letting little men with big egos try to tell me how to do my job, especially when they don't know anything about it.
          "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
          -Friedrich Nietzsche

          Comment


          • #10
            I'd love to learn how all this plays out. I have had a couple of occasions of having someone call for another driver due to lack of clues, but apparent BAC level. It just happens sometimes, and better safe than sorry for letting one drive away. Depending on how well the Chief can fight fires, I would't worry about it.

            Comment


            • westside popo
              westside popo commented
              Editing a comment
              I have done that a few times. They may blow something like a .04 on the portable or an alcohol beverage on their breath but have no other manifestations of imparement. I just tell them I have no way of telling if they're on the up side or down side of the acohol and have them call a ride or walk the rest of the way home. So far no body has argued with me on it.

          • #11
            Update --- Partner works thirds, so he has yet to come into work. The Chief had a meeting with the Mayor, and they both watched the dash cam footage. From my understanding, they're going to have an "Emergency" council meeting to determine appropriate punishment if you will. I don't know if that means the council member in question getting "voted" off the council and the police committee or not. I guess time will tell.

            Comment


            • #12
              Originally posted by DefyOrdinary View Post
              Update --- Partner works thirds, so he has yet to come into work. The Chief had a meeting with the Mayor, and they both watched the dash cam footage. From my understanding, they're going to have an "Emergency" council meeting to determine appropriate punishment if you will. I don't know if that means the council member in question getting "voted" off the council and the police committee or not. I guess time will tell.
              Keep us posted.

              Comment


              • #13
                Originally posted by DefyOrdinary View Post
                Update --- Partner works thirds, so he has yet to come into work. The Chief had a meeting with the Mayor, and they both watched the dash cam footage. From my understanding, they're going to have an "Emergency" council meeting to determine appropriate punishment if you will. I don't know if that means the council member in question getting "voted" off the council and the police committee or not. I guess time will tell.
                I LOVE cameras.
                Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

                My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

                Comment


                • #14
                  No good deed goes unpunished

                  Comment


                  • #15
                    They’ll Fire the cop....
                    Now go home and get your shine box!

                    Comment

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