So it was this morning, that I found myself reading a story about the former Police Chief in Sanford, Fla., Bill Lee and his Captain, Robert O' Connor. Both men had combined law enforcement experience of 60 years. Good men. http://www.policeone.com/chiefs-sheriffs/articles/6355062-Zimmerman-Martin-case-Exclusive-interview-with-former-Sanford-police-chief-and-captain/
That is what pisses me off. Real people with real careers get sacrificed when our President can't keep his mouth shut. Obama had no business interfering, race baiting, or pretending he cares about local issues and injecting himself anywhere he finds a spotlight. These two guys were real men, good men, and they deserve far better than the pile of shit that they were handed as retirement gifts.
Sanford is a relatively small community of 55,000 people. Both Lee and O'Connor had spent their lives working through the ranks of the Sanford Police Department. You generally don't get to the loftiest perches of any police department without showing good judgment, good reasoning, and intelligence. It's very hard to survive in a police environment- especially at the upper levels. That's where the politics gets played and trust me when I say this.
Mostly, I have never met a politician without an ax to grind. Maybe once or twice.
I dreaded becoming Chief. I had to somehow make 10 years (to retirement) in the most liberal environment in the entire state. That and after 20 or so years, particularly in small towns like Hailey, (population 9000) local politics is brutal. I had pissed people off and despite my fantastic attitude and warm, loving people skills- there were people that did not like me. Local politicians are self serving and seldom run opposed in Moonbat Valley. There is an absolute dearth of compassionate, quality people willing to get into local politics. Good people avoid conflict. They have a great deal of common sense and only under the most dire of circumstances, will good people submit themselves to public scrutiny and media ridicule. That was my experience.
So what we get in local politics, especially in Moonbat Valley, are educated trust funders or people with money. Occasionally a power hungry, ego maniac gets into some political office. I dreaded those folks the most and so it was that I ended up catching one of those types for the last five years of my career- and that was just bad luck. She even told me once, how she enjoyed firing people. That statement is all I ever really needed to know about her.
I had always imagined a false rape report might be the end of me. Those investigations were tough to defend especially when the investigation let to a high probability that the "victim" was lying. I dreaded those cases but thankfully- we could submit them to the prosecutor who could turn them down and in Idaho- you can't sue a prosecutor for a bad charging decision or for no charging decision. Cops don't have that luxury. What makes a police chief in Idaho even more vulnerable is that they are not elected. They can be fired at any time without due process.
There is one other very odd thing about being a career police officer. Many members of the public think they know how to do your job better than you do. It is a fascinating thing. Every once in awhile in my previous life, when I ran into one of these people I might ask, "Why is it that people think they know more about how to perform this job than the person who has been performing it for 20 years?" That was part of my warm, embraceable, people skills. I'll tell you this. There is no shortage of those types.
My favorite instructor in college was a small town Chief who got fired because he had consumed a beer in public and then drove home. It ruined a remarkable career. In his last days, Noble Taylor, taught young guys like me how to be decent cops. He hated teaching- I knew he did. If he could have been a Chief anywhere, he would have taken the job in a heartbeat. He reminded me of "Sully" on Third Watch. The last time I saw him he was in a wheelchair. What a way to go. It still conjures up a little anger in me.
But that is the life.
So Police Chiefs everywhere get fired or forced out on political whims. The standard "on the job life expectancy" of a Police Chief used to be 4 years. Fire chiefs (mattress backs if you prefer) fare far better. They are not political whipping posts. You usually have to pry them out of their jobs.
Bill Lee and Bob O'Connor did what they were supposed to do. They investigated the Martin shooting just like they had been doing with thousands of cases over 30 years. They knew Zimmerman had acted within the law even though he might have exercised bad judgment. The law doesn't negotiate. With a complete lack of evidence, cops and prosecutors can't simply trump up a charge and hang it on an innocent party even if it is politically expedient. Like it or not, Lee and O' Connor could not escape this shit storm. The professional armchair quarterbacks had arrived en masse.
Local politicians can always be counted on to do the wrong thing and this group was no exception. They second guessed everything Chief Lee was doing and they were angry that he was doing his job- and not catering to the media or the President. Lee only knew to do the right thing. The same thing he had been doing his entire life. They investigated and found no reason to charge an innocent man. Local prosecutors concurred. The Florida Governor, and some cherry picked prosecutor, tried to make a case out of nothing and the prosecution got their collective asses kicked. That's exactly how it should have turned out.
For 30 years, Bill Lee and Bob O' Connor were willing to take a bullet and lose their lives to protect the citizens of Sanford. For 30 years, they could be counted on when things took a nasty turn. For a few weeks, Bill Lee and Bob O' Connor needed some community help and support. Most folks might think that 30 years worth of service in exchange for a few weeks of support might be a fair trade. They received nothing. Lee and O ' Connor were abandoned by the City of Sanford and it's citizens. That's the world we find ourselves in.
The world of disposable lives and careers. The real victims of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman. Two innocent cops doing what they had always done. Doing their jobs.
That's seriously messed up. The President, the media, and the City of Sanford should be ashamed of themselves.
Take no victory lap here, cowards. I want to leave you with a quote from Bill Lee (from the article I linked) about what happened to him and his feelings about it.
Chief Lee was relieved of his duties and was informed the community no longer had trust in him.
“The whole thing has been pretty ugly. I’m at peace with it on most days. I was happy I could walk away with my integrity,” Lee said.
I think I would like Bill Lee and Bob O' Connor. They were the only people in this entire mess who acted like responsible adults. And they paid a dear price for it.