A cop’s credibility is crucial

Last week was a tough one for the Warren Police Department; it saw Chief Tim Bowers fire two veteran officers, Sgt. Emanuel Nites and Patrolman Jeff Miller.

Chief of police is not an easy job — witness that the three captains who would be in line to vie for the job when Bowers retires next year have said they aren’t interested. And one of the toughest jobs facing a chief is disciplining officers he has known for years, decades even. Bower, it must be said, has risen to the challenge.

A police officer must set an example for the community, and a ranking officer, such as Nites, must set an example for his subordinates. Through their actions, Miller and Nites showed that they have relinquished the privilege of serving.

Nites, who had been disciplined previously for misuse of his time while on the clock, compounded his most recent offense by lying during the investigation. There are some trades and professions in which the occasional lie might be overlooked by society. Being a police officer is not one of them. Any police officer at any time during his career can be called upon to testify in court. Not only must that testimony be truthful, but it must be delivered by a man or woman who can withstand a defense lawyer’s challenges to the witness’s veracity.

A police officer who can no longer pass that test must seek another line of work.

The people of Warren can only hope that the inevitable arbitrator who will rule on these firings recognizes that harsh reality.

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