Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Demoted, Promoted, Bisard Case, Words Fail Me

     In 2010, not long after IMPD officer David Bisard -- on duty, in a patrol car and who may have been inebriated at the time -- struck a group of motorcyclists, injured two and and killed one, three of the highest-ranking IMPD officials who were on the scene during the terribly flawed investigation got demoted, knocked right down to plain old Police Lieutenant.  It wasn't much more than a gesture but it was at least that much: evidence was egregiously mishandled under their oversight and being set down a few steps was at least some acknowledgment of this failure.

     Now two of them have been promoted right back up.  Yep, one is now Assistant Chief and the other's a District Commander.

     I've written in the past of the danger of police becoming a sort of equestrian order, like their Roman counterparts or the mare familiar knights of medieval Europe, privileged enforcers protecting the powerful elite and themselves at the expense of the average guy; this is suggestive of that trend.

     And David Bisard?  Still walking around, free as a bird  He won't go to trial until this Fall at the earliest, up in Allen County (Ft. Wayne), where it is presumed they can find jurors who haven't already made up their minds.  If he'd been J. Random Not-An-LEO, would justice have been so delayed, evidence poorly collected and handled?  Somehow, I doubt it.  Let a regular guy get in even a fender-bender and look tipsy, and off he goes to an Official Collecting Location ASAP and if the sample comes up hot, he's charged that same day and run through the system with all due speed.

     We are fortunate indeed that most police officers are good people -- or as good as most folks -- who take seriously the line about "protect and serve."  One can only hope it will remain ever thus.

11 comments:

Bob's Grandson said...

"We are fortunate indeed that most police officers are good people -- or as good as most folks. . ."

Stats?

Roberta X said...

Stats? It's simple: I'm not dead. I've been all over 'em on the Bisard case and others and if the po-lice were genuinely and inherently evil, I'd be dead or in jail right now. So the majority of the local LEOs must be no worse than the gen. pop.

Bob's Grandson said...

Apologies. I should have been clearer. I was focusing on your assertion that most police officers are as good as most people. I would argue that criminal behavior is higher among police that in the common population. The National Center for Women and Policing (http://www.womenandpolicing.org) links to studies that have found that, ". . .at least 40% of police officer families experience domestic violence, in contrast to 10% of families in the general population." (http://www.womenandpolicing.org/violenceFS.asp). I have to admit that even with sites like Cop Block (http://www.copblock.org) I could say that it -seems- that police misconduct during the course of duty is more prevalent that misconduct by members of other professions. I've not yet run across a good study. I would, though, propose that police should be held to a HIGHER standard than the general population and ANY misconduct should be almost non-existent.

Roberta X said...

Suddenly, humanity is perfectible? I think police are held to a higher standard; not all manage to live up to it. It's what the others do when that happens that worries me.

SJ said...

I've got a handful of relatives who wear blue outfits and spiffy badges. One is a small-town officer in Ohio. Another is a big-city officer in a Southern State.

They've told stories.

Policeman can get away with all sorts of petty driving violations. Even outside of their jurisdiction, the badge is a get-out-of-a-speeding-ticket-free card.

And officers who are known to be good 'team players' can convinces their fellows and superiors to wink-and-nudge at small problems. Like the perp who comes in with a few extra bruises.

Most of the time, Police deal with small crime and troublemakers who are too stupid to keep their story straight...or their nose clean. Every once in awhile, they discover that they have the Mayor's son in the back seat.

It's a rough business to be in, and it is hard for Policemen to be angels. Heck, it's hard for them to see life the way that most of us do. They deal with the worst 5% of society all the time.

The system we have doesn't work unless most cops are honest most of the time. But the system also enables the Equestrian-class behavior that you complain of.

Who Polices the Police?

Bubblehead Les. said...

It's not the Rank-and-File I worry so much about, but their Political Bosses and their Upper Level
"Leadership", like that idiot Chicago Police Chief who said that only Muskets are allowed under the 2A. One wonders if he ever read the McDonald vs. Chicago Decision, which he's SUPPOSED to follow since it's his city!

docjim505 said...

Serpico lives...

I have tended to get testy over the subject of such things as "citizen review boards" and the like as a lot of meddling in police business that has no effect other than to hobble them.

Now, I'm not so sure. I don't say that every action by every policeman should be subject to a lot of second-guessing, but SOMEBODY needs to see that the bad apples don't stay in the barrel (or, indeed, get shuffled to the top).

docjim505 said...

Serpico lives...

I have tended to get testy over the subject of such things as "citizen review boards" and the like as a lot of meddling in police business that has no effect other than to hobble them.

Now, I'm not so sure. I don't say that every action by every policeman should be subject to a lot of second-guessing, but SOMEBODY needs to see that the bad apples don't stay in the barrel (or, indeed, get shuffled to the top).

Able said...

It's neither an American phenomenon or a purely law enforcement thing and agree that whilst it is a tiny minority, the concentration of the type seems to be greater the more senior the position is (the cream isn't the only thing that floats to the top)

Have a look at the North Staffordshire 'Hospital' (?!?) debacle to see what I mean. The senior people in charge of allowing elderly patients to die of dehydration/starvation in squalour were .... promoted to be in charge of 'Quality', 'Patients Rights' and the entire NHS respectively. You couldn't make it up!

I think this has always been the case, it's just we plebs are more aware of it now but I'm still going long on piano wire in hope.

Volunteer said...

Roberta: Sorry, the "good folks" does not mesh with the realities today. Crime stats show police convicted of crimes at the same rate as general population. This case, and many others show that they protect their own.So, in real world, LEO actually commits more crime than private citizens.

Like politics,this occupation attracts all those that want to abuse it.

Indy Student said...

I highly recommend you go back and read the news archives of Fox 59 of the demotions in the aftermath of Bisard. According to reports by investigative journalist Russ McQuaid, the high ranking officers who suffered the demotions by then-DPS Director Frank Straub urged Straub and Chief Sizelski to come to the crash cite, or at least wanted to stay at the crash cite and ensure protocol was carried. But Straub and Sizelski called them back to DPS home office so they could plan out a previously scheduled press conference on Straub's relationship with rank-and-file police.

If anyone deserved the blame for the mess that was the Bisard investigation, it is Straub and Sizelski for pulling their ranking officers off the scene and into the office.

Some of those four demoted officers are still in court, suing DPS, IMPD, and the city for defamation and that due process wasn't followed in their demotions.