Daily Bread for 12.4.21: Whitewater’s Police Chief Placed on Administrative Leave

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 38.  Sunrise is 7:09 AM and sunset 4:21 PM for 9h 11m 04s of daytime.  The moon is new with 0.1% of its visible disk illuminated.

 On this day in 1875, the notorious New York City politician Boss Tweed escapes from prison; he is later recaptured in Spain.

 One read yesterday in a press release that Whitewater’s police chief, Aaron Raap, has been placed on administrative leave:

Whitewater Police Chief Placed on Paid Administrative Leave

Whitewater, Wis. December 3, 2021 – Whitewater Police Chief Aaron M. Raap has been placed on paid administrative leave. Deputy Chief Dan Meyer is serving as acting Police Chief until further notice. The Whitewater Police Department operations will continue without disruption and with full expectations of providing high quality services to our community.

An internal investigation will be conducted by an outside agency based on an incident that occurred outside the City of Whitewater. The leave is not considered punitive, rather part of the Whitewater Police Department policy.

Because this is an ongoing investigation, no additional information will be released at this time.

(The release is awkwardly worded: outside agencies don’t conduct internal investigations. A truly internal investigation would involve only intra-department personnel. The reasonable interpretation is here is simply that an outside agency will conduct an investigation.)

Journalists throughout the area carried the story.  See Fort Atkinson Online, Lake Geneva Regional News, Channel 3000 Madison, Fox 6 Milwaukee.

There will be any number of unfounded theories on social media about the basis of this administrative suspension, but unfounded theories are hardly notable. (Facebook’s not my preference, so to speak, in the same way that staying overnight in a Greyhound bus terminal wouldn’t be.)

Instead, for now, a few words about the usefulness — to all — of administrative leave.

When an allegation arises, of reasonable concern, promptly placing a leader on administrative suspension is the best course. Complainants, the community, and even the leader all benefit from a process of administrative leave. A complainant, should there be one, is assured that the matter will be taken seriously and addressed publicly. A community is assured of no further risk, if there should ever have been any.  At the same time, the leader himself or herself is removed from an environment of speculation.

Whitewater, Wisconsin should well understand the benefits of administrative leave.

When then-Chancellor Dwight Watson of UW-Whitewater was placed on administrative leave, the UW System properly investigated, and released the results of an investigation that credibly exonerated him. Watson returned to work thereafter. See UW-Whitewater’s Chancellor on Paid Administrative Leave and UW-Whitewater’s Chancellor, Dr. Dwight Watson, Resumes University Role.

By contrast, despite repeated complaints and investigations, UW-Whitewater’s then-Chancellor Bevery Kopper and her execrable spouse, Pete Hill, remained in their positions for years after the first complaint against him. Their continued presence perpetuated conditions of injury and intimidation.  Administrative leave with a thorough investigation at the first opportunity would have, at least, prevented further injury.

One needn’t address now the cause of Raap’s administrative leave.  It’s enough today to observe that administrative leave following an incident or allegation is a prudent decision that Whitewater, notably, has pursued too seldom.

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