By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
By Jesse Marx
Not that any of that matters to LaBarbera: "I believe gays can change. I've interviewed over 100 former homosexuals," he says. "Does that mean I should never have a public job?"
Told that Campion's suspension has been lifted, LaBarbera theorizes that Chief Dolan may have been motivated less by a desire to be fair than by the prospect of a legal battle. LaBarbera, who calls Campion's suspension the product of a "New McCarthyism" aimed at evangelicals, says that an array of Christian legal groups expressed interest in taking the MPD to court on a religious discrimination complaint.
Whomever the MPD hires to conduct its employee screening, there's little question that Campion, Barrow & Associates will retain a significant presence in Minnesota, where it maintains an Arden Hills satellite office. Currently, the firm is under contract with both the Minnesota State Patrol and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, as well as a host of smaller police departments. Neil Melton, the executive director of the Minnesota Board of Peace Officers Standards & Training, says Campion works extensively in the state, though Melton keeps no comprehensive list.
By all indications, there have been few complaints. "Dr. Campion has done our psych testing for several years and his work has been very satisfactory," says Major Bill Spence of the Minnesota DNR. "Nothing has indicated he has done anything other than a professional job." Bob Jacobson, the public safety director for the city of New Brighton, echoes that sentiment. "We'll continue to use him unless we get information that there are some issues," Jacobson says. "We have not had any difficulties, no complaints about the professional conduct of Dr. Campion."
At the State Patrol, Lt. Mark Peterson only says that staff will "take a close look" at the issues generated by Campion's affiliation with the IFI.
Meanwhile, at the MPD, the response to the Campion flap seems mainly to be confusion. Unlike many police departments, the MPD has a highly visible GLBT presence. Top-ranking MPD brass such as Assistant Chief Sharon Lubinski and Deputy Chief Rob Allen are out. (By contrast, St. Paul, according to OutFront Minnesota, has no openly gay officers.)
Allen, who has been with the department for 17 years, says he has interacted with Dr. Campion several times over the years. "I never had an issue with him," Allen offers. "He seemed very professional and he was very concerned that the employees' best interests were being looked out for."
Consequently, Allen was all the more shocked when he read Campion's 1977 essay on homosexuality—and then made a cursory examination of the IFI website. "His personal values aren't aligned with those of the city," Allen observes. "The question is, 'Does he put those aside when he does the testing?' I don't know the answer. But that clearly is the question."