Skip to main content

Police Ethics, an Oxymoron?

There was an interesting article in the News-Leader this week about how Springfield police chief Lynn Rowe felt it necessary to bring in an outside consultant as "a second pair of eyes" to watch over a rather sticky internal affairs matter at SPD. Internal affairs is investigating how the routine drug bust of Mayor Carlson's son, Thomas, was put on a fast track so that the results from the state crime lab would beat the April election deadline. There was no apparent reason why a routine investigation like this would warrant fast track status.

Mayor Carlson, who had opposed a police pay increase in recent months, has not been a favorite over at headquarters, and county prosecutor Darrell Moore smelled something fishy when he received a probable cause statement the day before the mayoral election. He elected to withhold charges for a couple of weeks, and Carson easily won re-election.

Chief Rowe was clearly rankled by Moore's insinuation that somebody over at SPD headquarters rushed the lab results in order to sway the April mayoral election. An internal affair investigation ensued, but apparently Rowe felt his own department was incapable of producing an impartial report. So, enter Steve Rothlein, number two man with the Miami-Dade County department.

Let's get this straight. SPD is having an internal investigation that may involve improprieties and unethical acts within the SPD, and we're bringing in somebody from Miami to make sure everything smells right? Pardon me while I guffaw. I don't know which is worse, the obvious intention to sway an election or Chief Rowe's ridiculous attempt to bring credibility to the investigation by adding another layer of bullshit.

Of course, the guy from Miami won't be involved in the actual investigation. Rowe isn't trying to suggest that his own Internal Affairs office is too corrupted to issue an honest report on this matter. "The fact that we're bringing someone in from the outside does not speak at all to my confidence in our own staff's ability to do this," he reassures.

No, Rowe just doesn't want to appear as "judge, juror and executioner", which translates to "I just want to make sure my own rosy ass is well-covered." And what does this guy make a year?

Rothlein, for his part, assures us that he will not be a "rubber stamp" in this investigation. "I'm not going to risk my reputation for that."

Shew! What a relief. This complete stranger from Miami will not be risking his reputation while visiting our fair city. But then, why risk anything for a measly $7,100, which is the maximum payment provided for his non-rubber stamp of approval?

Yup, like every other blue-clad individual involved in this matter, his reputation remains intact.


Popular posts from this blog

The Self-Abduction of Tim Carpenter

It was right before Christmas back in 1998. If I remember correctly, the word character was being tossed around a lot by folks here in God's country. President Clinton was being skewered by a GOP-led special prosecutor about cum stains on a woman's dress, and Osama Bin Laden was establishing a nice foothold in Afghanistan. Locally, the George Revelle murder trial was going on, and police were working to find out who shot a local man five times and dumped his body in the downtown quarry.

That was the backdrop for a strange case of abduction on Springfield's south side. Tim Carpenter, associate pastor at James River Assembly, loving husband and father of two teenage girls, had come up missing. The founder of Christian Publishers Outlet and owner of Heir Press had failed to return home after a late night visit his Heir Press offices on south Campbell.

Police were sent to Heir Press the next morning only to find mysterious blood smatterings, a tan left shoe that belonged to Car…

Aunt Norma's Dark Past

I was thumbing through some old Springfieldians and came across an interesting article that delves into state senator Norma Champion's early days at KYTV as host of the Children's Hour. Champion parlayed her television notoriety into a city council seat and eventually defeated Craig Hosmer in 2002.

Her record as a legislator has been, arguably, one of the least distinguished and vacuous in southwest Missouri political history. You can read more about Aunt Norma at All About Norma.

Anyway, back to the crack investigative reporting on Aunt Norma from Issue #1 (Summer 1992) of the Springfieldian.

"Champion hosted the popular Saturday morning children's show "The Children's Hour", sharing the stage with puppets, pets and shy, embarrassed children.

". . . While Champion's service on City Council raised no question of character, a closer look at Champion's television years may reveal another side of the candidate. . . .The controversy centers around a…

Psychogenically Fugued Up

Here's part of Carpenter's long-distance phone conversation with Detective Hamilton on Christmas Eve :

TC: How did you get this number?
SPD: Tim, we need to talk to you.
TC: How did you find me?
SPD: We spoke with Melisa.

At this point, Hamilton noted a crack in Carpenter's voice (farewell sweet Melisa), and he paused for several seconds.

TC: Oh.
SPD: Tim, where have you been?
SPD: Tim, are you okay?
TC: I, uh . . . I, uh, don't remember.
SPD: You don't remember?
TC: No.

One needn't ask Tim Carpenter for his definition of hell. It began when he finally opened his apartment door to allow wife Carol and pastor Lindell into his secret refuge. According to Lindell, he "cowered like a wounded dog" and refused to recognize anyone. And then there was that long, dark drive back home to Springfield from Memphis during the wee hours of Christmas morning. Could that have been anything but hell on earth?

When Carpenter found out he was being taken to Cox North, he became very…