It doesn't look like the Lafayette Police Department has learned its lesson since the last fiasco involving drunken police officers. The community has barely had a chance to heal from the scandal involving drunken officers who threatened to kill a private citizen. Now, we learn of new allegations involving two officers recently suspended for alleged drunken behavior.
Unfortunately, these new veiled allegations and subsequent mild consequences come as no surprise to the public. This is the type of behavior that one can expect when police officer-perpetrators are not held to the same standards of justice that Joe and Jane Public would receive.
LPD Police Chief Patrick Flannelly declined to reveal the misconduct by the officers, but told a Journal and Courier reporter that "a majority of discipline cases never rise to the level of merit board." "...We're always going to hold ourselves to those standards that our community would expect," Flannelly commented.
With all due respect, there are many in the community who believe the standards of accountability for a police officer are much less than they would be for a private citizen even though they should be equal to or even higher. Had Joe or Jane Citizen committed the offenses that some in the LPD have been accused of, he or she would have faced charges and a trip to the county jail.
Even Purdue University has higher standards for its employees. Just ask Pablo Malavenda, the former assistant dean of students, who was fired from his university job after being charged with theft from Wal-Mart. The excuse that the drunken officers who threatened to kill a private citizen weren't fired because they were not on duty when they committed the alleged crimes doesn't resonate with the public for the same reasons that Pablo didn't get to keep his job. The integrity of the University was at stake. Where is the integrity at the LPD?
The community would like nothing more than to respect the Lafayette Police Department, but the bad apples and its ineffective leadership is making it difficult. We will continue to salute the many officers who do their jobs with distinction, but when officers do not receive the respect they believe they are deserved, please understand that the bad apples may be part of the cause. One bad apple truly can spoil the whole bunch.
The Lafayette Citizen Journal is back because it is apparent lessons have not been learned. The citizens of Lafayette deserve better. We can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.