The ongoing dust-up between Washington Mayor Brenda Davis and its police force is unfortunate, but a clear sign that Mayor Davis is protecting the rights of the city’s residents and doing her job.
When there is a public call to have an elected official back away from her mandate to oversee police activity, to, in effect, let the tail wag the dog, the administrative democratic process in Washington is in real trouble.
Mayor Davis was not elected to be the friend of the police department, nor the fire department, street department, or tax department. She was elected to provide oversight and civilian guidance of important civic functions. While it is not out of line to question her management style, to call for an abdication of her management responsibilities is beyond the pale.
One need not look far to determine the outcome, when police officials are permitted to let their will run riot. An unsupervised rogue police chief in East Washington was in the pocket of drug dealers and gun runners. In Pittsburgh, the cozy relationship between the mayor and police chief resulted in a grand jury and the uncovering of large scale financial fraud. Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s political career is over and the police chief is on his way to prison.
Mayor Davis is new to her position. The bureaucracy of entrenched city departments is difficult to understand and manage. It is more difficult to change. In my opinion, it is well past time to scramble some eggs. The more micromanagement by Mayor Davis of city departments, the better.