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OPINION - Horrible judgement

by Chris Conley

NEWS BLOG (WSAU) A tea party group in the LaCrosse area unfurled an Impeach Obama banner on a highway overpass. The police chief in Campbell, Tim Keleman, quickly went to the town board and got them to pass a highway safety ordinance against it.

But Chief Keleman was not done. He targeted Greg Luce, the leader of the tea party group. Luce was secretly signed up for a gay-dating and pornographic web site. The District Attorney filed charges against Keleman and hes been forced out of the police department.

Whats notable about the case aside from shockingly bad judgment is the plea bargain thats been reached. Keleman will be allowed to plead no contest to a charge of misuse of a computer. And his conviction will be wiped off his record if he completes an anger-management class, performs community service, and stays out of trouble.

I object to the expunging of Kelemans criminal record. The reason for shielding someones criminal record from the general public is to make it easier for that person to find a job. And there may be cases where it doesnt make sense to ruin someones job prospects in a case of bad judgment. This is not one of those cases. Good judgment is one of the most important characteristics of good law enforcement. And by eventually erasing Kelemens crime, its more likely that hell become an officer again, or, God forbid, a chief. The next department that hires him might not know of the incident in Campbell. Someone who has abused his power as a policeman should not be allowed to stay in that profession. The judge overseeing this case should realize that, and reject this plea bargain.

Chris Conley

Image:A badge of the Oakland Police Department(OPD), with badge number "13"via Wikicommons.com