Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Police union's politics of fear

If Jim Vokal becomes mayor of Omaha, he ought to appoint 50 independent police auditors and make them all Ernie Chambers.

Come to think of it, half a hundred of the Omaha Police Department's worst political nightmare may not be enough for the job. Just think what Omaha cops are capable of doing to folks in the 'hood when -- given a ballot and the cloak of anonymity -- they elect union reps who will stoop to any level of depravity to trash a sitting city councilman.

One with the nerve, and the poll numbers, to pick off their fair-haired political enabler, former mayor (and mayoral wannabe) Hal Daub.

WHY SHOULD ANY OMAHAN have any faith or trust in the city's police when officers pick as their union bosses an ethics- and truth-challenged band of political sleazemeisters capable of wallowing so deeply in the mud they'd need a ladder to scratch a serpent's belly? This is what we're to expect from our public servants?

Think of it this way: These people -- these "law-enforcement" personnel -- are the folks we entrust with maintaining public order. Yet the leadership of the Omaha Police Officers' Association, when it suits its political purposes (or those of its political patron) does not hesitate to use fear . . . to employ the language and imagery of the lynch mob to take down a sitting councilman.

In the world of politics, Omaha's police-union bosses are perfectly willing to stretch the boundaries of truth, civility and propriety to the breaking point for their own benefit. In the world of the streets, they expect civilians to stay within those same boundaries . . . or else.

Speak to an Omaha cop the way Omaha cops' leadership speaks of their political enemies, you're probably going to get arrested. That speaks to me of a profound credibility problem.

Credibility is the cops' problem -- not the people's. And that will come back to bite them exactly 100 percent of the time.

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