Tuesday, October 21, 2014
RIP Sheriff Jack Cottey
Former Marion Co. Sheriff Jack Cottey (R) passed away today at the age of 75. He reportedly had been suffering from cancer for some time. We feel for family members, of course, for the loss of their loved one and express our deepest sympathy to them for their loss.
Below is the reaction to Cottey's death by a number of state and local political luminaries. I don't share their views of the man. The profuse praise of Cottey by these prominent people is disturbing to say the least. The man I most remember is the man in the video above (NSFW), and it's the memory scores of people who got on his bad side for trying to do the right thing most remember. "I've got three more weeks, I'm going to bury some people's asses," Cottey bellows to the poor guy in the towing company office on the receiving end of his profanity-laced tirade because his unmarked car had been towed after he parked it illegally while getting tanked in the Columbia Club.
It's quite alarming that people who hold or have held such powerful positions in our state and local community would describe a man who had so little respect for the law despite being a life-time law enforcement officer in the glowing terms they do. Their effusive praise of this man says more about them than it does Cottey, who was simply a product of one of the most corrupt eras of law enforcement in Indianapolis' history. I'm truly sorry for his family's loss, but his departure is no loss to the local law enforcement community to which he brought so much shame and disrespect. He was no role model for younger law enforcement officers, and I can only hope that most of them view him as I did for the public's sake.
"Marine, state legislator, sheriff -- Karen and I knew Jack as a leader and a friend. We have deep respect for his many contributions to both public service and public safety."
--Mike Pence, Indiana Governor and former U.S. Representative
"Sheriff Cottey will be remembered as a national leader in local crime prevention and community policing. During very critical times, he was among the first to recognize that homeland security begins with hometown security. As a former United States Attorney, he was by my side after 9/11 proudly leading the men and women who serve and protect our local communities, as they worked with state and federal law enforcement to keep us safe from terrorism."
--Susan Brooks, U.S. Member of Congress, former Indianapolis Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and former U.S. Attorney
"Sheriff Jack Cottey displayed a unique blend of leadership traits -- compassion, vision, tenacity, common sense and fairness. He knew Indianapolis and her people well. His absence will be felt deeply by all those knew and worked with him."
--Richard G. Lugar, former U.S. Senator and former Indianapolis Mayor
"Our work together spanned many decades in his constant commitment to public safety and public service. As prosecutor, I worked closely with Jack as deputy chief and legislator to improve Indiana's criminal law. As mayor, I saw how the city benefited from his initiatives as sheriff, in innovated technology and techniques with the help of rank-and-file deputies. Jack was truly a public citizen who served his community and friends loyally and with commitment."
--Stephen Goldsmith, former Indianapolis Mayor and former Marion County Prosecutor
"When I was elected mayor, I appointed Jack as Deputy Chief of Detectives. He served faithfully in that capacity, and we subsequently supported each other in many political contests. I loved his laugh and his enjoyment of life. He was a genuine and caring person, and a good friend and ally. We will miss him."
--William H. Hudnut III, former Indianapolis Mayor
"I am deeply saddened in saying goodbye to one of our community's long-time civic and political leaders. Whether in the state legislature or during his two terms as Marion County Sheriff, Jack Cottey was known for always extending his hand across the political aisle in order to get things done for the people he was elected to serve-a quality that is too often absent in today's political climate. Jack was my friend and colleague. I, along with the rest of Indianapolis, will miss him."
--Joe Hogsett, former Indiana Secretary of State and former U.S. Attorney
"Jack Cottey and I served as deputies together as deputies in the Marion County Sheriff's Department in the early 1960s. He was a longtime friend and a great law enforcement officer. Jack was always able to work across party lines and put public safety first. I was fortunate to follow him as sheriff. He will be truly missed by so many in the law enforcement family."
--Frank Anderson, former Marion County Sheriff and former U.S. Marshal
"What I'll remember most about Jack Cottey is his great laugh. There are people whose laugh 'lights up a room,' as they say. Jack's laugh lit up the room and shook the pictures off the walls. Jack was a great politician, because he really loved politics. And he loved it because he loved people. Not 'the People,' as an abstraction, but individual people. All of them. And politics was for Jack the best chance he had to give each and every person exactly what they wanted and needed from their state and local government."
--Scott Newman, former Marion County Prosecutor