Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Straub Blames Lapdog Chief For Latest Police Screw Up

Mayor Greg Ballard says he's "angry and disgusted" by today's revelation that a second vial of blood drawn from Officer David Bisard in his deadly drunken driving case while driving a police cruiser has been mishandled, but he's not angry enough to blame his highly-criticized Public Safety Director, Frank "I'm In Charge Here" Straub, for the latest screw up. Instead, Straub's lapdog chief, Paul Ciesielski, has taken the fall, along with Valerie Cunningham, the police officer Straub previously lauded for her work in the Bisard investigation when he was throwing other members of Ciesielski's leadership team under the bus for mistakes none of them made. "Senior leadership failed," Ciesielski said of his senior leadership team back in 2010 when they were demoted and blamed for the failure of police to gather blood alcohol evidence from Bisard in accordance with a recently-enacted law, causing then-Prosecutor Carl Brizzi to throw out drunk driving charges against Bisard. WTHR's Steve Jefferson reports on today's announcement:
On Tuesday, Mayor Greg Ballard revealed that a vial of Bisard's blood investigators were going to test to determine if the officer was drunk at the time of the crash had been mishandled. The blood had been removed from a refrigerated and secure police property room and taken to an unrefrigerated police annex.
It's the second time in the case that proper procedures were not followed after the crash. The first time, Bisard was tested on the day of the crash, but because of concerns over where the blood draw occurred, the DUI charges against him were thrown out. That first test put Bisard's blood alcohol content over twice the legal limit, something Bisard and his attorneys have denied.
Both vials of Bisard's blood samples were originally stored in the property room. The second vial of blood was moved sometime in November 2011. When prosecutors received approval to have the second vial tested by Judge Grant Hawkins last week, that's when they discovered the mishandling of the evidence.
Straub says they know who moved the blood sample, but he says it's not the chief or Valerie Cunningham. He did not say who it was.
In the wake of the controversy, the police chief has resigned but remains on the force as a captain. Two other officers have been placed on administrative leave.

Any thought of feeling sorry for Ciesielski is immediately dismissed when one considers how he failed to stand up for his senior leaders when they were unfairly blamed by Straub for police failures in the Bisard investigation. Those senior leaders were all summoned from the scene of the deadly crash back to Straub's office for an emergency meeting with Ciesielski and Straub to discuss the public safety director's troubling public image, which revealed just how little Ciesielski and Straub failed to grasp or to care about the seriousness of the deadly crash involving one of their own police officers. While Straub spent enormous time and energy assigning blame to others within IMPD for their handling of the Bisard case, he apparently failed to ensure the balance of the investigation was being handled properly to avoid further screw ups. By placing the blame today on Ciesielski, Cunningham and others within the police department, Straub is able to accomplish what he set out to do from the beginning, which was to install in every senior management position within the police department persons totally beholden to him. Straub wasted no time in appointing his deputy director, Rick Hite, a high-paid import he brought to the Department from the Baltimore Police Department, as acting IMPD Chief.

Meanwhile, Mayor Ballard, who made it his number one priority when elected mayor to get control of IMPD, continues to gladly delegate responsibility for running the department to Straub and to keep his own hands as far away from the department as possible. Straub's shameless self-promotion was on display as Ballard stood behind him staring at his feet.  "The policies and practices of this department need to change. They need to be professionalized and we need to move forward and I am 100 percent committed to that. And you see these changes coming because of my leadership," said Straub. Yeah, more of that change in leadership that you can believe in.


CircleCityScribe said...

Straub has failed miserably at every level of leadership measurement that exists.

Obviously he did not read the mayor's book on leadership.

Straub is mismanaging funds, a joke as a manager, implementing cronyism, bringing NY-style corruption to Indianapolis, and still has not established a command staff that is working toward a common goal!

As for kickbacks, paybacks, or whatever you want to call it: why do former east coast associates of Straub get expensive contracts of make-work, do-nothing jobs? Why do contracts for unneeded EMS badges and badges for others in public safety go to eastern companies? Why does he have the largest personal staff in the history of the city? Why did he seize the media relations office of the police and fire dept? Why did he seize the crime statistic unit of the police department? (There have been posts about CompStat that deal with that matter in more detail).

Now this New Yorker comes to town and talks about several decades of corruption????? Where did he get his information? -or is he just making up something to bolster his poor image?

Straub believes the police department is "pretty white" instead of well-qualified examples of The Best Indianapolis has!

Straub panders to the loud-mouth ignorants in town....trying to gain favor, instead of bringing them together for the betterment our community.

I issue this challenge to The Mayor: Hold a press conference and discuss any positive contribution that Straub has brought.

Marycatherine Barton said...

I feel so sorry for the victims, and wish that Curry's office had taken a more hands-on approach to securing that blood vial, what with the accused being police. At a rally, I told the father of the deceased victim that he would have a hard time ever getting justice in this matter of IMPD, but that I knew that he would go as far as he could, for his son.