Sat, Feb 18 2012 12:00 PM Posted By: Tom Basinski
I am continually amazed at how many newspaper readers and online commentors have a profound dislike, no, make that hatred, of police officers. As I have written before, I read a few print newspapers and an equal number of online publications.
The negative letters to the editor about police in the print editions are fewer because most printed papers have restrictions on how often a reader may write in during a month. Not so with online contributors. They may write as often as they desire, even on the same article.
I don’t know why some people hate the police so much. Maybe it’s because the writers don’t like authority. Maybe they flunked the entrance exam to be an officer. Maybe they recently received a traffic ticket. Maybe they met a rude cop. At any rate, if a story ran about police officers giving out $20 bills, someone would write in complaining that they would rather receive a ten and two fives. I’m not kidding.
The numbers of negative generalizations floor me. If one were to complain similarly about certain minorities over the bad things some do, the complainers would be run out of town, fired from their jobs, and banished to a life of ridicule and contempt. Yet, nobody bats an eye when all police are painted with a broad brush. It’s acceptable to label an entire police department or all cops as corrupt, immoral, and brutal because of the actions of a few.
Now comes before us the latest SDPD and DA scandal involving ticket fixing. I don’t know the cop, but I do know both deputy DAs. Two female DAs were ticketed for riding without seatbelts. DA Amy Maund went to court at the designated time. She didn’t see Allison Worden, the other DA, and the ticket was not on the docket. Maund approached Worden who said the matter had been taken care of. Apparently, Worden knew traffic Sergeant Kevin Friedman and he pulled the citations at her request. I didn’t think you could pull tickets, what with the state auditing procedures in place in all departments. I guess you can.
Maund’s next step was to go to someone in the DA’s office (I don’t know who) and relate what happened. That’s when the stuff hit the fan. The person that Maund told at the DA’s office had no choice but to go up the chain and see the issue through.
Allison Worden and Sergeant Friedman were charged with crimes by the attorney general’s office. Worden’s charge is one of moral turpitude. If convicted, she faces termination, and possible disbarment, although nothing is certain.
Sergeant Friedman probably won’t get fired, but that is not guaranteed. He might get a few days on the beach, a transfer, a demotion, or all of the above. A while back, a female deputy DA appeared in traffic court to dismiss a ticket against another deputy DA. When DA Bonnie Dumanis found out, the DA was given the choice to retire or be fired. She chose retirement. The ticketed DA left the office.
In the case at hand, Amy Maund is probably getting the silent treatment from some of her colleagues at work. No matter what, there is presumably a rift within the DA’s office over this.
I told my wife over dinner that it shouldn’t have happened. Maund should have gone to the sergeant and told him he did wrong and never to do it again. She should have scolded Worden and reminded her of the horrible situation she put everyone in, especially over such a stupid violation as not using a seat belt.
My wife sided with whistle blower Maund, saying what is right is right and the result didn’t matter. I said, “You have the career of a cop probably ruined. You have the career of a deputy DA probably derailed, or ruined. And, there probably was a lot of choosing of sides within the DA’s office.”
She said, “So what? That’s how it should be.”
In retrospect, Maund has a good point because if the incident had been uncovered by another source, she too would have been hung out to dry. She was only protecting herself. I can’t fault that. Ethical problems are seldom clear cut.
Basinski is a former cop and a retired D.A. investigator.
© 2009 The Star-News