To the editor:
Recently, nine members of the Cynthiana Police Department, along with two former officers filed a “Vote of No Confidence” with the city commission.
This document stated that the officers felt like the chief of police was incompetent, neglecting his duties and abusing his authority.
The signing officers requested a meeting with the commission to discuss the issues. The commission passed off this petition as a “letter of concern” and ignored the officers’ request. Instead, the commission elected to have an efficiency study conducted at a cost of $20,000.
This is tax money wasted since the officers requested to meet with the commission to discuss these issues.
The police department is already running short on equipment, resources and staff. That $20,000 could be spent to purchase needed equipment, expand community programs or hire more officers.
The department has been short staffed for years. New officers are hired, but soon leave for other departments. Academy graduates should complete an 18-week field training program but this rarely happens due to staff shortages. Instead, officers go to the streets with minimal field training and usually only one other officer on duty. I experienced this when I was released from field training after four weeks and found myself the supervisor on shift with only another new officer.
The department recently began the hiring process again. As a former officer, I applied and was forced to redo the testing/hiring process even though city policy allows for a former employee, who left on good terms, to be rehired by the commission, I remain a certified officer and have all of the equipment necessary to start work immediately.
Considering the department is already short handed and officers are working overtime, my return would have saved the city money, benefitted the department and the community. Plus, the city would not be paying for another academy training.
In the last 17 years, around 36 officers have left the department. While some have retired, the majority left due to hostile work environment and poor management. Officers who have stayed, face these same issues, which is a result of the actions of Chief Johnson.
He should be the most trustworthy of all officers, but he exhibits behavior that elicits only turmoil. He avoids calls, fails to answer his radio/phone even when he is the only other officer on duty and shows favoritism. Punishment is dealt unfairly and publicly for some officers while others receive little or no reprimand in private.
While Chief Johnson serves on many boards and has built a good image, his actions have damaged the department. These officers want the commission to know what is going on. The chief can retire at any time and the time has come. so that the department can mend.
As a former officer, I feel it is my obligation to convey the injustices that have occurred. I loved the job, but hated the internal problems. which continued to grow to the point I could no longer stay. While I hoped to be rehired, which is most likely not going to happen, perhaps bringing these issues to the public can assist in fixing what plagues the police department. Cynthiana is a good community; a community that deserves the best from its leaders. It is time for a change that will allow the police department to serve and protect this community.
Joshua D. Carter