Police Chief Acevedo Is Right

RECEIVED Sun., July 13, 2008

Dear Jordan Smith and all,
    I have to disagree that APD Chief Art Acevedo has "stumbled" in the instances you cite [“Acevedo Stumbles,” News, July 11]. If I understand the situation correctly (and my only source is your article), the issue is not the substance of the comments deemed offensive. Neither is the issue whether the people making the comments in question received the appropriate sanctions. The issue is accountability.
    People in this community have long demanded that police officers treat each human being they encounter with respect and dignity. We vigorously protest instances of police abuse or excessive use of force. Law enforcement officers avoid accountability for misdeeds when, due to misplaced and excessive loyalty, their co-workers turn a blind eye to things they know are wrong. Loyalty to co-workers and friends is an admirable trait, but only to a point. When police officers feel more loyal to each other than to the community, their sworn duties, or their uniforms, they are no longer able to protect the public.
    If the article reported the facts correctly, it seems pretty clear that Chief Acevedo has a single standard: Report wrongdoing, as you see it, when it comes to your attention. The principle applies whether the wrong is a racist, homophobic, or otherwise offensive comment, or a gun that shouldn’t have been fired. Maybe it will turn out that the reported act wasn’t what it seemed, wasn’t so bad, or doesn’t warrant much of a penalty or any penalty. But if officers, especially supervisors, don’t take responsibility for each others’ behavior, we all have reason to fear the police department. That’s why, based on your article, I think that Chief Acevedo is right. If the community wants accountable law enforcement, we need to support him as he demands that accountability.
Virginia Raymond
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