To the Editor: After reading the article "Race issues divide men in blue," (The Daily Pennsylvanian, 11/17/00) I realized the dark cloud of controversy had once again appeared over our department as a result of disgruntled employees, former and current. And what good timing, during Unity Week and the search for a new vice president for Public Safety in which Chief Rush is a viable candidate. Well, once again, you are being used by people who refuse to accept the consequences of their actions and instead claim discrimination or hide behind anonymity. When the author of the article came to our department, she said that she was doing an article on "law enforcement from a minority perspective." She was provided with a list of officers on various shifts and in various divisions. Several officers that I supervise said after being interviewed that they felt the author was looking for only negative statements about the department. Some were upset because after making time for the interview, their statements, most of which were positive, were not printed. They were also upset, as was I, by the fact that what was reported occurred in the past. I refer to the article as regurgitated dirty laundry. Former Penn Police officers who filed discrimination complaints are people who often refuse to take responsibility for their actions and accept the consequences for the same. I also think of past complaints that may or may not have been substantiated and they are viewed as a way into the "deep pockets" of the University for an easy settlement. It appears that only ethnic officers were interviewed for this article, as opposed to minorities. With that said, I will tell you that as a female -- a minority, last I checked -- in the sergeant capacity, I make decisions every day that affect the officers, the department and the community. These decisions, whether positive or negative, reflect upon the department as a whole. To say that these decisions are not important is an insult and shows ignorance on the part of officers who think otherwise. The so-called "growing problems" the anonymous officer alludes to may have been evident in the past, but the department of today reflects quite a difference. As far as Chief Rush being the problem, I don't see it. Maureen Rush has done more for the development of minorities in this department than any past director, commissioner or chief. If there is any preferential treatment on her part, it is towards those people who go above the normal standards to do their job. I was disappointed in the article considering the fact that it was Unity Week. I think our department has made significant steps to prevent offensive behavior, harassment and discrimination toward fellow employees and those we serve. For those who have problems of this nature, it is important that they come forward and have the issue addressed and corrected. No one wins when such allegations are made in the form of anonymous statements to someone who is looking for sensationalism.
Sgt. Peg O'Malley Penn Police Department
To the Editor: After reading the article "Race issues divide men in blue," there are several facts that need to be clarified and some that were omitted. Mark Johnson was identified as a "former" UPPD officer. What the article fails to state is that Mr. Johnson was terminated due to disciplinary reasons. When Mr. Johnson says there are no minorities in "decision-making" capacities, he belittles the supervisors who are minorities who are the first on the scene and make the critical first decisions at a crime scene or who are in charge of day-to-day patrol duties or special events. Patrick Chad, in recalling the mushroom and Confederate flag bandana incidents, fails to mention that the unknown officer cited is no longer employed by UPPD and has not been for several years. Mr. Chad also makes the statement that this was "a great place to work before Maureen Rush." Before the arrival of Thomas Seamon and Maureen Rush, crimes occurring on the campus and the immediate area were front-page headlines nationally and affected the University adversely in numerous ways. Perhaps a change from the reactive response to crime and the sedentary method of patrol did not agree with Mr. Chad. Is it also a coincidence that Mr. Chad and Mr. Johnson were hired before the arrival of the present administration? Maybe they could not cope with the change of being a police officer in a forward-looking department. I have been a police officer for 27 years, 23 with the City of Philadelphia. I was with the city when women joined the job and when affirmative action rulings attempted to level the field for all races in regards to hiring and promotion. Promotion of minorities takes time; it does not happen overnight. The diversity of the UPPD is far greater than the Philadelphia Police Department, as is the quality of officers hired. Officers hiding in the cloak of anonymity do a disservice to themselves and fellow officers when they make statements that minorities promoted to lieutenant or above are "window-dressing." Are they stating that these promotees are not deserving of the promotion or their respect? I don't know. If they were promoted, would they turn down the promotion? I don't think so. Promotions are not scholarships; they are earned whether you are black, white, brown or yellow. The causes of this so-called division are not originating from the upper levels of UPPD. The causes are originating from a small minority of officers who have lost sight of the mission of this department and do not recognize what it takes to be an effective police officer.
Sgt. Theodore Farrell Penn Police DepartmentComments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.