Update: The Dismissal of Palmyra’s Police Chief, Charles Warren

An update to an earlier post on Palmyra’s dismissal of Police Chief Charles Warren: I withheld a comment on the matter (it was mostly fine, with one impediment), but I’d like to respond here to the contention that Warren and other officials should be accountable for their actions.

Yes, I agree; I simply don’t know enough about the charges to say whether dismissal was reasonable.

I do know how rare any action is, in any city, town, or village: most commissioners can’t image holding anyone accountable.

Leadership accountability doesn’t make a police force worse; it makes it better. Needless to say, a selfish leader is quick to conflate a single role with that of an entire department, or to insist that any criticism is an attack on all policing. Were such a defense valid, no politician could be impeached, or no principal fired, despite his or her conduct in office.

Weak leaders across Wisconsin surround themselves with commissioners who will shy from legitimate oversight that, in fact, makes for better leaders, supported field officers, and safer communities.

I may be unsure about particular circumstances in Palmyra, but I’ve no doubt about a general policy of leadership accountability.

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