Where the Buck Never Stops

Missing jobs and development in Jordan; cops' union leader blasts Olson

Delmonico, for his part, sought to place the blame for police-community tensions on police administrators and local politicians. To demonstrate his case, he distributed copies of a "Community Relations Plan" the cops' union had proposed after last year's Jordan melee; the document called for measures such as video cameras in squad cars, public debriefings to explain the outcome of use-of-force investigations, and regular public forums to discuss community-police relations. "This document went to the chief, the mayor, and all 13 council people," Delmonico claimed. "I haven't heard one phone call back from it."

"It took the police administration 10 months to investigate [allegations of wrongdoing against an officer] and come out with a finding. That's unacceptable," Delmonico said later. "The complaint I have always had with the chief is, he doesn't always hold his command staff accountable. There used to be a lieutenant on every shift in every precinct of the city. They're gone. You're lucky to find a lieutenant on the street in this neighborhood after 12 o'clock at night." (Contacted by City Pages through a police department spokesperson, Chief Robert Olson did not respond to Delmonico's comments.)

Not all of Delmonico's one-note criticisms of the Olson regime passed muster with the panel, however. At one point he remarked, "We have asked the chief to lay out clear expectations of the department....In the nine years Chief Olson has been here, he has never addressed one roll call of officers and said, 'This is what I expect of you and this is what I am going to hold you accountable for.'"

The problem could not all be laid at the chief's door, countered one panel member. "Nobody [should have] to tell you to respect people when you stop them, not to beat them down when you see them, not to chase the children when you have issues. You need to realize that there is a history between us, and it is not good." (Britt Robson)

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