To the editor:
Sadly, the recent revelation of ticket-fixing by Lawrence police officers supports long-standing rumors of corruption within the department.
The city manager’s statement that this incident will cause only “momentary damage” to the credibility of the police department is astounding. Apparently, Mr. Corliss and other city leaders are choosing to simply disassociate themselves from the unconscionable acts of their employees in hopes that the matter will go away.
I believe that the public’s anger is justified. The message that this incident sends is that police officers in Lawrence have the “discretion” to accept bribes, and are allowed to give their friends and relatives breaks that the average citizen does not get. For city leaders to characterize such official misconduct as “professional courtesy” or simply a violation of the city’s “gratuity policy” is just plain offensive.
I have a number of questions. How do we know that ticket-fixing has not been a historic and standard practice within the LPD? How is it that this activity is not considered a crime? Do we know if officers were also taking cash? How long has this activity been going on? How many officers were involved? How many tickets were dismissed?
The department’s continued lack of transparency gives taxpayers no reason to dismiss historic allegations.
The Lawrence Police Department and City Hall have a lot of explaining to do.