To the editor:
I urge the city to release the police investigation of the ticket-fixing scandal. It would clear the air to assure the public that there is not a cover-up.
Secrecy makes all officers suspect, including the 99 percent who obey the law. Treating the incidents as only violations of departmental gratuity policy contradicts media reports. It sure looks like bribes to me. I call it a bribe when police accept payments in exchange for not doing their duty. They were bribed either not to issue tickets or to cancel tickets already issued.
Bribery often involves other crimes. Did other officers assist to “fix” the tickets? Did members of the force commit fraud or perjury in “fixing” the tickets? Were they part of a conspiracy? The payments — KU athletic tickets — were stolen; did anyone who benefited know they were receiving stolen goods? Did the bribe recipients evade income taxes by not reporting bribes or “gratuities” as income? Release of the investigation could show it was thorough and that the department knows the difference between gratuities and bribes. Or not.
Public officials — including police officers — no less than private citizens should obey the law or face consequences. When the police commit crimes or when they apply the law for personal gain or prejudice, they threaten the rule of law.
The public has a right to know when police break the law; hiding behind the screen of personnel matters undermines public confidence in the police. Lawrence police and citizens deserve better.