Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Straub's Tough Love Speech

As many of you know, I've been a frequent critic of Public Safety Director Frank Straub. He has been back in the news after he delivered an impromptu speech to about 50 IMPD officers at the police training academy that got leaked to the press. Straub was apparently irked that the FOP was circulating a "no confidence" survey among its membership concerning his and Chief Ciesielski's leadership. Initially, the focus of the leak was on the revelation Straub had told the police officers last Friday before the end of the day one of their own would be arrested for strong arm robbery. As it turned out, the investigation was still in its infancy and not all the facts known to determine whether the allegations a stripper made against Officer Dwayne May could be corroborated. Five days later, still no arrest has been made since Straub made that impromptu speech to the police officers. The FOP leadership suggests no arrest will ever be made.

Regardless of the debate over whether Straub should have made those comments to the group of police officers on a pending investigation, it's hard to argue with what he had to say in that impromptu speech. You could also argue police officers should have kept his comments about the ongoing investigation confidential themselves as Straub argues. Call it tough love or whatever, it was a speech that needed to be made by someone. It was an excellent speech. It's not "all about us" as Officer Jerry Piland inappropriately suggested after being cleared of using excessive police force by the police merit board as Straub points out. It probably should have come from Mayor Ballard since he wanted control of the police department so bad when he ran for office in 2007 but now doesn't want to own the responsibility. Straub was reportedly miffed that his comments were recorded and leaked to the news media. Supposedly he has even launched an internal investigation to learn who leaked it to Fox59 News' Russ McQuaid. I actually think Straub should be thankful the recorded speech got leaked to the media. It is hard to argue with most of what he says in the speech. It had to be said by someone, and he just happened to be the guy who said it. If Straub really wants to improve relations between himself and the rank-and-file police officers, though, he should give up on his hunt to learn who leaked the information if it is his intent to punish that individual. The person did you a big favor, Mr. Straub. Let it go.

The Star has published a transcript of Straub's entire speech, which you can read by clicking here. Fox 59 News has also uploaded the entire audio recording, which lasts about 25 minutes, which you can hear by clicking here.

21 comments:

TwoDomeTown said...

I'm amazed at the arrogance of the police department to so publicly present their vote of no-confidence to the media. In their minds, it is all about them. It has been for decades and won't likely stop soon.

I think its also unfortunate the media is taking the bait presented by the FOP just to file a few shock stories when it is clearly not in the public's interest.

Talk to your friend Cady. Ask him what the police department was like in 1974 when he feared for his life working on this story - http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,904051,00.html The police department is worse today, often operating under a cloak of secrecy provided by homeland security.

Straub is the only outside influence to have any control over the department since Lugar appointed Kenneth Hale chief to clean up massive corruption in the department. He lasted one year before he resigned, being run out of town by the police department. Much the same is going on today. I think the department will win.

I know Straub isn't perfect. Moses wasn't either but was still able to get a lot of work done.

IMPDCode1 said...

First: I don't care for your vague description of Piland's statement about it being "all about us." What was the 'it' that Piland was talking about? Do you even know the context of what he was talking about? Was it the city, policing, the Merit Board process, the verdict? Piland does not have that mentality (in general) as some have tried to portray. Having said that, the vast majority of the people that stayed up till 4AM to the end WERE police. The Johnson family didn't care to be there, the Director wasn't there, a lot of the media had left, and there was only one member of the so-called Concerned Clergy that I could see. The people that really cared were there. So forgive us if we felt like that verdict had a lot to do with us.

Second: Straub defended his tone by saying, "I'm from New York; we have a different way of talking to people, sometimes, we get in your face. I don't regret any of the comments." Ironically part of the in-service training he was at deals with cultural sensitivity. Apparently it is ok for him to ignore our midwest sensibilities but every other officer on the department has to be sensitive to the world. It is pure hypocrisy.

Third: He shows his hypocrisy again by saying he wants to discover the leak. What about the leaks he has provided regarding on-going investigations?!

I appreciate you trying to be intellectual honest and attempting to show you are not afraid to admit when you agree with someone you generally disagree with. However, as a police officer I can tell you that speech did nothing for me. What specifically did you find so fascinating about the speech? You say you like it but don't really say why other then 'it had to be said by someone'.

Quite honestly, I felt it jumbled with no real direction. I think the analogy to Centurions to be odd at best. I felt the tone to be condescending and accusatory. It certainly didn't motivate me.

Advance Indiana said...

As I've previously written on several occasions, I have an issue with Straub's management style in general. I really think Ballard should have named him as Chief instead of Public Safety Director if he wants him and not Ciesielski to run the police department. I also think there are all sorts of problems with Straub building up his own police force under the guise of homeland security within his department and undermining chain of command and creating a dualing law enforcement agency with IMPD. Most of Straub's speech was directed at police misconduct and corruption and the impact that has on the public's perception and trust of their police. There has been a lot of that. That goes without saying There was a lot of that back when Cady was writing his Pulitzer prize winning stories about the police department and there still is today. I saw videotape of what Piland said. Perhaps he didn't mean it as it sounded, but it wasn't the right thing to say in that moment. I fully support the merit board's conclusions and I've been critical of Ballard, Straub and Ciesielski for their unfair attacks on their decision. What I don't understand for the life of me is why none of these reforms crack down on the off-duty employment activities of police. That led to a lot of the corruption back in the 70s and it still is leading to a lot of corruption in the department today. Yet nobody seems to want to address that issue.

Paul K. Ogden said...

TwoDome,

Very people oppose Ballard picking an outsider. The problem is which outsider he picked. Director, er I mean "Doctor" Straub, is a person who has MAJOR personality flaws that obviously interfere with his being able to serve effectively in the positio nof Director of Public Safety.

There have been numerous stories abotu things STraub has done and said while at the Department. Unless you want to deny those things as being true, then you have to reach the conclusion he's unfit for office.

TwoDomeTown said...

Paul, I think most of the public's perception of Straub is based on media reports and anecdotal evidance which is highly subjective and filtered.

Can you give me some, or any example of something that Straub has said that makes him unfit for office?

Cato said...

IMPDCode1, I don't really care if Straub's tone offends you. IMPD speaks brutally and harshly to the citizens, every day. The cops just can't take what they dish out. If you didn't have that badge, and we could talk to you as we want, you'd run home crying.

I really disagree with Straub referring to that Wambaugh "centurion" baloney. Wambaugh made a living glorifying cops, and he gave the cops a grossly inflated sense of just what they are hired to be.

Straub said: "but we as an army protect the public that we serve." Sorry, Straub, you aren't an army. You're just civilians. Public security guards, nothing more.

A free country does not have an army on its streets, and a free people repulse and defeat all armies on its shores. If you're an army, we're under martial law, and you're the enemy.

Pick a better author, Straub. Many already think the police are an occupying army. Don't push this country closer to the brink by reinforcing this idea.

By the way, can we reconsider the idea of having police, at all? In freedom and economic terms, they do far more harm than good. I'd love to try living without them.

leland35 said...

Two Dome: You want examples of statements that make Herr Straub unfit for office? I can write all afternoon, but shall include a few...

1) Straub said that Piland will know that Straub wanted him fired after his acquittal by the jury...Straub is unfit by creating a hostile work environment for this good police officer.

2) Straub said he believes that excessive force was used in referring to a matter that is pending civil litigation. Any corporate executive who made admissions of liability on an issue that is pending civil litigation is UNFIT and should be fired immediately!

3. Straub is a megalomaniac, media whore, who loves himself and wants to be in the media as much as possible. He released details of a homicide investigation publicly. Why is Straub privilege to any details of any police investigation? He is NOT a police officer! As a civilian releasing details of a police investigation, that is cause for termination.

4. Straub recently in recorded statement announced that someone was going to be arrested by last Friday. That, also, was a pending police criminal investigation that Straub should NOT have been privilege to, as he is NOT a police officer. Said act could result in evidence being unavailable, but actually was found to be WRONG. The arrest was NOT made because investigation is showing that the allegations were false.

5. After a Deputy Chief of Police received information that he should have his office checked for electronic eavesdropping devices, one was found. Straub immediately orders the unit that found the device to be put under his civilian direct control, which violates chain of command and perhaps other laws on who may have police information from various law enforcement sources. How can Straub, a civilian non-police officer, have any police unit report to him or any civilian? There may be federal law broken as much law enforcement information by law may only be used/released to law enforcement! This renders him unfit to continue.

6. Straub is engaging in racial discrimination. Did he hire a chaplain to placate the so-called "concerned clergy" with the only job requirement being the race of the hire-on? Did Straub transfer several people based on race to Training? Did Straub transfer someone based on race to the media relations office? Did Straub order police officers assigned to units based on race to go into schools and only interact with students of that same race? If Straub, as a public official, is actively using racial discrimination, he is unfit for office!

Straub spent so much money redecorating his lavish suite of offices and hiring assistant directors and public relations staff that police are not going through the police academy and needed supplies (envelopes, gun cleaning equipment, paper clips, etc) are not available, and police recruit school class was canceled. Putting his own grandiose desires above public safety renders him unfit for office.

Do you need more examples?

anonymous said...

Straub seemingly has yet to absorb the fundamental understanding that you get little mileage out of repeatedly threatening a group of people who get threatened by someone darn near every day. Despite Mayor Ballard's cocksure confidence about his USMC leadership skills, he too fails to see that the police dept needs competent "leaders" at the top, not self-promoting "managers" like Straub and his equally clueless Chief, whose Prime Directive is to ensure they look good.

The cops are just like the rest of us. When you show them you're right, you can lead them to where they need to be...but you can't drive them anywhere. The cops and firemen especially have always been that way, folks. If Straub feels the best way to effect "positive" change is to create a "negative" atmosphere, where the employees come to work with both hands over their behinds, then he's an even bigger fool than he appears to be in his public appearances

anonymous said...

Straub seemingly has yet to absorb the fundamental understanding that you get little mileage out of repeatedly threatening a group of people who get threatened by someone darn near every day. Despite Mayor Ballard's cocksure confidence about his USMC leadership skills, he too fails to see that the police dept needs competent "leaders" at the top, not self-promoting "managers" like Straub and his equally clueless Chief, whose Prime Directive is to ensure they look good.

The cops are just like the rest of us. When you show them you're right, you can lead them to where they need to be...but you can't drive them anywhere. The cops and firemen especially have always been that way, folks. If Straub feels the best way to effect "positive" change is to create a "negative" atmosphere, where the employees come to work with both hands over their behinds, then he's an even bigger fool than he appears to be in his public appearances

spooknp said...

I can't believe all the whining after hearing the speech. If you read comments on various media sites about the speech, it was said to be full of "F-bombs" from both Straub and the Chief.
Maybe he was rude to interrupt the training class, I dunno. Maybe given this is Indiana, and not a pro-statist government area like NYC, asking everyone to stand when he walked in the room was a bit much.
Outside of those two things, I don't see what the big issue is with the speech. Yet I read whining by cops on various forums and Facebook.

Paul K. Ogden said...

TwoDome,

You do realize don't you that "anectdotal" doesn't mean "not true?"

Here's something Gary wrote:

http://advanceindiana.blogspot.com/2010/08/straub-draws-ire-of-impd.html

You can start by telling me whether the things in that article are true.

It was confirmed to me by some very close insiders to the situation that every word Gary wrote was true. That's just one of several stories Gary wrote. Every story of Straub has portrayed him as an out-of-control egomaniac. People who defend Straub never deny any of the facts detailed in those stories. They simply say that they don't matter.

But they do matter. You can't have your cake and eat it too. The facts, that again aren't being disputed show Straub to be someone who has major perosnality flaws that obiviously interfere with his ability to do his job.

Marco said...

Interesting analysis, AI. I think most of the rank and file would probably agree with most of it. The issue isn't the message. It's the messenger.

The fact that he has been absolutely mum about Candi Perry and Bobby Jefferson tells me he's more concerned about political points than really solving problems. DUIs and off-duty conduct are one thing. Screwing up homicide investigations and stealing money from prisoners do a lot more damage to public perception, IMHO. However, both of these officers still have their jobs and nobody in charge really seems to care.

Enter Piland. The city was so unabashedly arrogant they evidently never met with their witnesses before the hearing, as evidenced by their continued contradiction of each other. The Chief himself was unable to articulate the dept's own use of force policy and was unable to reconcile that the factual basis didn't support their claims. He was also unable to explain why there were two investigations on Piland, and why the first one that exonerated him wasn't released to the public before it came out in the hearing. Then, instead of admitting they were wrong and apologizing to Piland, they had the audacity to criticize the very oversight the public has always asked for.

If you want to fight corruption, that's fine. But don't pick and choose your battles based on political expediency, use the media to govern your troops (as it seems that's what's happening), or talk about transparency and then investigate who released audio of a public gathering.

I forgot to mention they have chosen to suffer the fools of the concerned clergy, who bragged about pushing the merit board to reinstate Bobby Jefferson, who were happy Candy Perry got her job back, and have nothing to say about the arsonist and the rapist.

On top of that, the city is in a pinch and cancelled a recruit class that was supposed to start in September (this one really stung), but the PSD can hire a staff of nearly a dozen and come up with a multimillion dollar budget.

They continue to take officers off of the street doing policework and put them in administrative roles or social work programs that perform no law enforcement function. For example, their response to the Piland incident has included hand-picking a half a dozen minority officers and putting them at the academy without having any kind of posted application or process to determine who was best for the job. My understanding is that there aren't any academy classes planned until the middle of next year at the earliest.

Furthermore, my LEO friends inform me that Straub and Ciesielski have been unable to address any of the concerns or explain with any rationality whatsoever anything that they've been doing. Straub thinks that LEOs are mad at him due to all the changes, because he's too arrogant to realize he doesn't know as much as everybody else. I could go on ad nauseum about management gaffes and lies and deceptions told to the general public that my LEO friends have told me about. Then again would it really matter?

TwoDomeTown said...

Paul, I suppose I should point out to you that your declaration of someone as a megalomaniac doesn't make it so either. You ask me if the things that Gary wrote are true are not - my answer is, of course, that I don't know. And honestly, unless you or he were there, you don't either.

My argument is that the inside information you are basing your claims on might be biased. Have you ever considered that? Are you questioning the motives of your sources? Have you considered what stake Straub's actions have on their lives?

Have you ever met Staub? Talked to him? I think your attacks on the man are misplaced unless you have. I've never met him either so I have to base my assessment of his performance on other factors like his expression of values, history, education, and so on. Straub's history shows him to be someone that cares about public safety, not just those who provide it. He has not been afraid to challenge entrenched systems even at his own peril. He has published his ideas and broke new ground on scientific methods to combat crime. During the Black Expo third Saturday, he was out, on the streets with other administrators and reporters when 10 people were shot. He ran to the scene and was one of the first there - and by all accounts he did not interfere with the officers as they did their job but wanted first hand experience of the situation on the street. Even this last gaffe, if it was, was delivered by Straub giving a speech to a gathering of rotarians, trying to convince the public and community leaders that there is hope for IMPD and not to lose faith yet.

When you look at the total picture, and not just a few comments from officers who stand to undergo massive change in the way they do their jobs, their income, and their power, Straub doesn't seem to be much of a megalomaniac to me.

Gary offered another article today that underscores the the systemic, institutional, and endemic corruption of IMPD that has been going on for decades. Something has to be done about it. You might not like Straub's style but I think it's hard to argue that he is at least doing something about it. Do you think it's possible to turn this department around without offending anyone or making them uncomfortable?

Marco said...

TwoDomeTown:

Soo... is it safe to assume your most recent post was submitted before the other comments were put online? Do you care to respond to any of the specific comments and moral/intellectual/management inconsistencies that have been pointed out? There's really no debating the factual basis, as for my comments anyway, since most of it was culled from media reports for which I have yet to hear any kind of retraction. Besides, as he says, perception becomes reality, so the majority perception evidently becomes the truth anyway.

TwoDomeTown said...

Well Marco, are you making these comments from your MDT? I think you have it wrong about perception is reality. Perception is your reality. That may or may not resemble the truth.

I think an objective search for truth would necessarily avoid most of the noise being generated by the officers and FOP. And the media reports are just the same thing.

So what do you think the officers have to fear most from Straub? Losing take home cars? Losing part-time work permits? Being supervised more closely? Less influence of the FOP?

Indy4U2C said...

TwoDome:

You issued a challenge to bloggers to state reasons why Straub should be fired. In this thread I see documented evidence of malfeasance, incompetence, improper conduct, arrogance, misapropriation of funds/priorities, RACIAL DISCRIMINATION. I also see that Straub appears to be cause for a new tort claim against his employer (which we taxPAYERS suffer if his actions impune liability)each day he is in office.

Two Dome, got any response, or you blowing smoke?

Are you a member of the Straub Public Relations staff, whose full-time job it is to enhance Straub's image? We know he created such a staff.

Two Dome Town: You have been given several reasons for Straub to be fired. In the private sector, no executive would retain employment if he impuned liability on the corporation by his actions regarding pending litigation. Straub need to be fired.

IMPDCode1 said...

"I'm amazed at the arrogance of the police department to so publicly present their vote of no-confidence to the media. In their minds, it is all about them. It has been for decades and won't likely stop soon."

You have declared your intellectual dishonesty for all to see. Apparently it is ok for you to claim the police are arrogant and feel it is all about them, but when someone says the exact same thing about Straub all of a sudden you demand verification: "Have you ever met him? How do you know? Show me proof!"

"Can you give me some, or any example of something that Straub has said that makes him unfit for office?"

Really, you are gonna plead ignorance on this one? Haven't read anything posted on the Indystar, Fox59, Channel 6, AI, etc...

At least acknowledge the viewpoint of the other side, even if you don't agree with it.

IMPDCode1 said...

"IMPDCode1, I don't really care if Straub's tone offends you. IMPD speaks brutally and harshly to the citizens, every day. The cops just can't take what they dish out. If you didn't have that badge, and we could talk to you as we want, you'd run home crying."

Yet another intellectually dishonest poster. Apparently Cato thinks it is OK for Straub to speak harshly to police officers but doesn't give them the same priviledge when it comes to the public.

Or is it his mother never told him early on that two wrongs don't make a right. He seems to take some kind of immature satisfaction with it. The only thing missing is the "nana na na naaaaa naaaa!"

Grow up, Cato.

And man up while you are at it, too. Don't be afraid to talk to an officer like you wish because you CAN, you just won't (by your own admission). Sure, every decision has a certain set of possible consequences but stand up for yourself.

But then, something tells me you don't actually deal with the police a whole lot.

TwoDomeTown said...

Well Indy4u2c and IMPDcode1, let's say Straub is all the things you say and should be fired immediately. How should the department move forward? Do you think IMPD needs to be reformed? If so, it what ways? How should a new public safety director interact with the department? Or, should there even be a public safety director?

Marco said...

I've personally never understood the notion of perception becoming reality, but I heard the admin say that on more than one occasion in their crime summit things. Their logic not mine.

Do you read the news? You have an officer, on duty, who STEALS MONEY from a prisoner and keeps his job. Is there a more serious or obvious violation of someone's civil rights than blatantly stealing their property as an agent of the government? This THUG still has a job. I have yet to hear any complaints from Straub, Ciesielski, etc. In light of their conduct following the Piland decision, one can logically conclude they either agree with this THUG keeping his job or they don't care. Evidently since you're such a staunch defender you don't have a problem with all the public corruption. There's little doubt in my mind that there is a lot more out there. What I wonder is why they let some off the hook and others they filet like a 4 pound walleye. I've already asked you twice and you've resorted to name-calling. Just hope that's not YOU that gets arrested by this thieving POS. Why can't you or anybody else answer this?

It's not that difficult. Find and retain somebody who has not been politically compromised, who isn't afraid to piss off the clergy, the department, or anybody else who stands in the way of common-sense reform. If you find somebody doing something wrong, punish them. If somebody is committing crimes, ON DUTY, FIRE THEM! If the merit board chooses to reinstate them, make their life a living hell. Don't chase after Jerry Piland because he's a political target, he didn't do anything wrong and that's just cliche.

If I were a cop, I'd be afraid of being the next Jerry Piland: a political casualty who followed his training and procedures but got thrown under the bus by his superiors. It's a bad day in Indy when even the good cops are scared.

anonymous said...

It's not a good time to be a white male police officer in this town right now. Reverse racism is allowed to run unchecked for the sake of political expediency. I don't understand why the prosecutor's office doesn't simply skin the hide of ANY public official, regardless of color, who breaks the law and betrays the trust of his or her office.

It's just more corruption and people selling their honor for cash and political clout...and people have the gall to point out what a crook Winston Churchill was 35+ years ago like it was some perverse deviation from today's norm? Today, the same corruption runs across the breadth of city gov't, and the pay-outs are a lot bigger. Ask Bart Peterson and Monroe Gray, or a lot of others. Why no Pulitzer Prize for investigating them?

Churchill's problem was he was the chief of police when Lugar wanted to run for higher office. So to get at Lugar, the Star-News attacked Lugar via the "corrupt" police department. The same as they did when Goldsmith wanted to run for governor. Same thing now that bungling Ballard is the Mayor and the dems want him replaced with one of their equally "corrupt" chumps. Once Melina Kennedy is elected the newsies will forget about the police. Until the clergy finds themselves "concerned" because they've been out of the limelight (and incoming cash flow) for too long, and starts looking for another bad (white) cop.

Welcome to the merry-go-round.