Sunday, August 13, 2006

Racine: David Spenner Steps Down as Police Chief

In a case we have followed, but not commented on, Racine Police Chief David Spenner has stepped down, as least partially as the result of a dust-up with Racine Mayor Gary Becker. A citizen called Spenner to report the mayor driving erratically, and Spenner sent his cops out to investigate.

When it was discovered that the tip came from a political rival of the mayor, the mayor attacked Spenner. The reality of law enforcement, of course, is that valid tips often come from rivals and enemies.

An independent investigation vindicated Spenner, noting:
“The investigation showed the Racine Police Department aggressively investigates alleged driving and OWI complaints. The fact that the possible involved subject is an elected official makes the handling of cases like this even more delicate. If a complaint of this nature is not investigated thoroughly, law enforcement will be criticized for covering up,” according to the findings. “Aggressive investigation could be perceived as harassment. No matter how a situation like this is handled, it will be scrutinized intensely after the fact,” according to the findings.
We know Dave Spenner very well. He is one of the Elders at our church. He is mister straight arrow.

A good cop and dedicated public servant, he has fallen afoul of petty small city politics.

Becker told the Associated Press “Some trust had been lost between the mayor’s office and chief.”

Right. Becker no longer trusts that he will be given the special treatment that he thinks mayors deserve.


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