Frank Straub quits; the rooster crows

Dateline: Fri 27 Apr 2012

but the hen delivers the eggs.

Straub, as public safety director for Indianapolis -- admittedly, an embattled one, with spurs in shreds sometimes -- was clearly not the right guy for the job. He could crow with the best, but the fact that he has resigned effective Aug. 1 shows us he's a guy who does not deliver (on his pledge, or threat, to clean up our police department).

Or maybe things are not as bad as Straub and Mayor Greg Ballard made out.

Maybe the force is not riddled with "decades" of incompetence and corruption, which is what former chiefs and public safety guys apparently believe (they stepped up last week to disagree with Straub's characterization).

At any rate, the New York rooster was in truth a lame duck. He could not lead, and he fizzled.

Ballard, as a Marine, will always have the back of an appointee, up until that appointee turns traitor or turns tail.

So what is the real story with why Straub is leaving? Why now? And why the August timetable? What's the real story?

Someone, please report the news.

Thanks to my tipster Hendy who first saw this in Indianapolis Business Journal, courtesy of Associated Press.



John McShane [unverified] said:

I met Director Straub several times. I can only say that I found him to be a kind, thoughtful, and caring person. I do not have much insight or understanding as to the circumstances of his departure but I do wish him well.

Have a Peaceful day, John

2012-04-27 20:20:19

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

I don't care whether he stays or goes. He was brash, opionated, and he evidently hit some nerves. The fact that former PSDs or chiefs stood up for him is no grand endorsement--if IMPD has structural problems, I hardly expect them to vouch for it. Lest they indict their records. What is clear is this: there is a culture within IMPD that either tolerates or encourages poor behavior. Is that behavior above or below natiolnal norms? Hard to tell.

For my tax dollar, the PSD position is an unneeded bureacratic layer. About two mil a year. The Mayor can have a direct line of communication with the chiefs of police, fire, animal control and Homeland Security.

Dr. Straub was an expensive layer, too. He remodeled his office with some otherwise-committed budget dollars. Almost a million, so I hear.

A little spit, paint and polish could've been in order. But a complete remodel? Right after he gets the office? He also commissioned a study, with no bid, by a former employer. He may have been a "ferrinner", but he sure did adapt to Hoosier poliitco inide trix!

It reveals much.

I strongly support line officers. Their union--that's another thing. But everyone has a role here. I'm just trying to figure out why we need a PSD.

And mayoral spokesman Lotter reveled even more in his impromptu explanation to The Star: the interim police chief will be retained or discarded upon the decision of the new PSD--and we all thought that was the mayor's call. Hmmmmmmmm.

2012-04-28 05:45:21

ComputerWheels [Member] said:

Decades of corruption? I'm only a public observer, but I remember a time decades ago when it seemed the police policy was to shoot first and ask questions later. Lots of killings and news then.

And always, it seems, police back each other up and get away with what the public would have been punished for. The case of the Indy dog patrolman living in Jamestown and zooming down the interstate at 120 mph comes to mind. You may recall a state trooper tried to pull him over, but the patrolman radioed ahead and had his buddies meet him at a city exit, where they prevented his arrest. He got a hand slap for that, and he wasn't the only one to get off lightly.

2012-04-28 08:29:57

hendy [Member] said:

Straub meets his match, falls on sword. Big wheels keep on turning, Proud Mary keeps on burnin'.

Welcome to the Ballard Era.

2012-04-28 08:37:43

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

By my rough calculation, we've got about 1335 days, 13 hours, 47 munute sleft of Mr. Ballard's whimsical and lazy tour.

Pick up the babies and grab the old ladies. He needs a new deal to push through--nothing's sacred!

2012-04-28 09:18:25

Chuck [unverified] said:

Not corrupt? I lived in the same house as an IPD officer who lived through the '60s and '70s. With all due respect to the "Thin Blue Line" - because I have utmost respect for our police - it was ugly. And just the site of Jack Cottey makes me want to take a shower.

2012-04-28 16:41:12

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Cottey is a slimebucket.

And like more than one Indiana politician, his house must have no mirrors.

2012-04-28 16:55:25

Jason [unverified] said:

Indianapolis ate Straub alive, more or less. You could say he walked into a firestorm because he had to deal with Brandon Johnson, Bisard, etc. right out of the gate. However, all of the legitimate criticism leveled against him was directed at his management style, personality, astonishingly ignorant budget direction and manpower allocation, and a refusal to understand that cultural norms shape policy in police departments, not the other way around.

Rumor is he apologized to Brandon Johnson, and ordered the entire department to leave him and his family alone that summer. The department was forced to sit on their hands while he and his brother were tied into a series of extremely violent crimes (I'll let you fill in the blank.) Rival gang members went so far as to IndyGo to the CCB and demand an explanation for the preferential treatment. There was word he called the screening prosecutor and orderered her to issue an armed robbery warrant for an officer by telling her who he was and not even supply a report, let alone probable cause (the officer was exonerated but you didn't hear about that.)

I know of one act of egregious misconduct (this would probably qualify as "corruption") which had multiple eyewitnesses and was reported through the appropriate channels and the powers that be didn't want to have anything to do with it. People think because Straub was an outsider that he didn't have a favorites list, and nothing could be further from the truth.

He tried really hard to make inroads with the black community in all the wrong ways, throwing white officers out of positions without cause and replacing them with minority officers.
Having two sets of standards in everything from hiring to firing isn't old, he just took it to a new level.

The WOS is he walked into Ballard's office with a list of 25-30 officers and demanded that the merit process be circumvented and they be fired immediately. Most of them were officers who are suspended indefinitely pending termination (think Gitmo) and have never had a merit board hearing scheduled. A heated confrontation ensued and Ballard had a "come to Jesus" moment and that's where we ended up where we're at.

Funny, I had a few friends in college from New York City. They all seemed like perfectly normal, well adjusted people.

Some of the corruption has in fact gone away in the past 3 or 4 years. Word is Andre doesn't take peashake money so most of them have been shut down. I'm not familiar with any orders from the top to "submit a clear and detailed action plan for this location pending approval before taking further action" in recent memory that used to be so common. There are a lot of things that happen at the top, but that's not nearly as sexy to the public as the perception that there are issues from top to bottom.

2012-04-30 12:43:33

Nobody [unverified] said:

I must add that I found today's column by Erika Smith thought-provoking.

Yes, Indy is hide-bound. Yes, those who question the status quo are often reviled. Yes, the power structure hates interlopers.

But Straub? He was so tone-deaf it's hard to take his reform ideas seriously.

2012-05-01 13:07:30

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