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Poor Leadership

November 23, 1986

Regarding your editorial ("Fixing of Tickets Unfair to Thousands Who Paid," Nov. 16) on Police Chief Bill Kolender fixing thousands of tickets for family and friends. I rarely agree with anything in your editorials. However, you and I are together on this one!

The police chief was quoted last week that his leadership was setting an example for the rest of the police force. With his example of "leadership" it is no wonder that reported crime in San Diego is escalating at 18% per year. I emphasize "reported" since as crime goes up, a smaller and smaller percentage is reported. So the situation is probably much worse than the records show.

If there is any part of the editorial I might disagree with you on, it's that you don't go far enough. All the information supplied to the current investigation has come from records supplied by the police themselves. The tickets, for instance, were apparently dismissed by the police before they were submitted for adjudication. This leaves the police to control what information on themselves will be made available to the investigation. This is "letting the wolf guard the hen house."

Policemen, furthermore, use the "buddy-system," the unwritten law that no policeman testify against another policeman. An example of this was uncovered last week when it was reported that after the head of the Police Officer's Assn. was stopped for suspected drunk driving, he was given a cup of coffee rather than being cited.

The officers in charge wanted to make the arrest, but were told the incident would be handled "administratively" by their superiors, and so it was dropped. There are numerous honest cops in San Diego, but they need our support. Why should they jeopardize their careers by blowing the whistle on their supervisor for an investigation that will just white-wash the whole thing and leave the supervisor's jobs intact?

Only after the status quo at the Police Department is removed from office could there be any hope of a fair and complete investigation.


La Jolla

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