Sunday, June 24, 2007

Star On Deputy Getting Fired Over Blog Comments

It didn't rate coverage as a regular news story, but the Star did stick an item in its "Behind Closed Doors" column about reserve deputy Rick Skirvin's recent firing for posting comments on the IndyUndercover blog site which were critical of his boss, Sheriff Frank Anderson, and Mayor Bart Peterson. The Star is apparently amused by the words used in a press release from the sheriff's department commenting on Skirvin's firing. The column reads:

Marion County Sheriff Frank Anderson fired a volunteer reserve deputy this month for his "dastardly" and "boorish" criticism of the department on a Web site.

Anderson fired Rick Skirvin on June 5 from his $5-a-year job as a reserve deputy assigned to drive a prisoner-transport vehicle after Skirvin admitted criticizing department officials on the blog IndyUndercover.

A statement from Anderson's office used the words "dastardly," "boorish" and "pernicious" to describe Skirvin's actions.

"If Skirvin had valid constructive criticism of the Marion County Sheriff's Department, he should have acted in accord with departmental rules and regulations," the statement said. "Instead, under cover of darkness, Skirvin elected to anonymously spread his noxious screed over the Internet."

Skirvin, who runs a business that installs and maintains cryogenic freezers for the health-care industry, said he immediately acknowledged authoring the posting and expected to be reprimanded. He said he was stunned by his firing.

"In the 21/2 years I was on the street, I never had one complaint from a citizen or anyone on the department," Skirvin said. "The sheriff is always preaching accountability. I bought into that. I was accountable for my actions. Unfortunately, some people don't live by what they preach."


Anonymous said...

If what he said was done off-duty, on his own equipment, AND ANONYMOUSLY, then it appears that his views are clearly NOT representing himself as a member of the department. My own opinion is that since his words were anonymous, they constitute protected political speech.

I would understand if he posted the remarks by using his name and/or even mentioning his official capacity would clearly be considered as bringing the department into disrepute. However, if he made the comments anonymously, I interpret the comments as coming from anyone and protected political speech.

Anyone have another take?

Anonymous said...

How interesting that when Indyundercover went looking for a martyr they were more than willing to sacrifice a $5 a year volunteer rather than one of their own full time law enforcement officers.

If some of you have heard the rumor that Abdul over at the Indiana Barrister blog is one of a couple of people who are Indyundercover then you've most likely heard correctly.

Anonymous said...

anon 11:25 AM EST

Can you explain some more of your post ?

How did Indyundercover sacrifice a $5 a year volunteer ?


the rumor that Abdul is one of a couple of people who are Indyundercover ?


Can you help connect the dots better for me ?

garyj said...

Abdul??? HA-HA-HA! Not even close!
How can it be Abdul when he was at a CCC meting when the story about Monroe Gray not standing during the pledge of allegiance was posted on Indyu!

They used Skirvin as an example. He admitted it was him and they made an example of him because they didn't think it would cause a stir. If they tried that with a full time merit employee, they would have to explain why to the media, and the media would tell what ever the administration told them to say. At least now the public knows what kind of people are in charge of our safety!

Anonymous said...

MCSD is destroying everything related to public safety. They are idiots and control needs to be pulled from the Sheriff before we loose all of our good officers to the surrounding countys.

Anonymous said...

No offense, but Abdul isn't smart enough to pull it off!

Anonymous said...

Wow. The blogs are cruel today.

1. Abdul is the only mainstream reporter asking tough questions for over a year in this town. I don't always agree with him. He stumbles sometimes, and gets drawn into traps, because he doesn't know and understand all the players and their histories. He's a fast learner.

2. The part-time reserve violated written policies and admitted it. Duh. He expected---what? The IMPD stupidly played into their critics' hands by issuing ANY press release, especially one so wordy and over-the-top. It's a freaking reserve officer. While the reserves' role is valued, the world will go on.

3. Just how is the sheriff runing IMPD?

I know a half-dozen LEOs, all of them smart, good public servants. They're members of both political parties, and I trust their observations.

They think the merger was ideal, and while it has kinks, it will prove beneficial for them and the populace.

They also think the IndyU crowd, for the most part, is the same five or ten complaining officers, not representative of the department by a long shot.

I trust their views.

indyernie said...

"the rumor that Abdul is one of a couple of people who are Indyundercover ?"

How can it be Abdul when I'm Indyundercover, just ask Wilson he knows. According to Wilson I'm the IndyChicken, Santa and the Easter bunny too.

Wait, I forgot. I was at the CCC meeting with Gary and Abdul too.

I guess Wilson must be wrong.