Calling her a bully who is trying to micromanage the police department, Washington’s police union requested City Council remove Mayor Brenda Davis as head of the department during the council’s agenda meeting Monday night.
John Hritz, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 95, said the department has “a complete lack of confidence” in Davis, who he went on to call inexperienced and lacking leadership skills and management tactics.
But after the meeting, Davis said she wasn’t backing down.
“This is all about not wanting a female to be a part of the male process,” she said.
Hritz’s comments came the same day Capt. Robert Wilson retired after serving as acting chief of police after Chief Robert Lemons stepped down. Lemons gave no reason for stepping down from the position.
But Hritz gave some indication of the conflict between the mayor and officers when he read from a written statement.
“The mayor has again micromanaged and bullied a 25-year veteran of this department,” he said.
Following Hrtiz’s request that council remove Davis as their department head, the crowd broke into applause.
Given time to speak, all four members of council said Wilson was an outstanding officer who exhibited professionalism and integrity.
“It’s a sad day for the city of Washington,” Ken Westcott said.
But Davis believes she is the victim of bullying. A mannequin wearing a wig was placed in the chief’s chair in that office to mock her. “They were saying that dummy was me,” she said.
Wilson was a well-respected police officer, Hritz said, and his sudden departure is upsetting to everyone who worked with him.
“I don’t know anyone who didn’t like him,” he said, looking around the room.
Among those attending the meeting were former city police chiefs Jim Hansen, Ed Cochran and Roger Blyth. They all spoke favorably of Wilson.
“If nothing else, he’s a good cop. The city shouldn’t lose a good cop,” Hansen said.
Since taking office, five grievances have been filed against the city by the police union, none of which has been successful, Davis said. She indicated the police union is fighting among themselves.
When she mentioned during the meeting that she has faced discrimination as mayor based on her sex, there was an audible groan from the mostly male audience.