OUR VIEW: Stay calm, stay the course

October 26, 2011 1:27:00 PM



Contrary to what Ward 3 Councilman Charlie Box would have you believe, the sky is not falling. At least not as far as the Columbus police chief search is concerned. During a special- called council meeting on Tuesday Box referred to some of the candidates as "losers." 


Hold on, Charlie, not so fast. 


Here's what's happened so far. Two weeks ago a committee appointed by the mayor and city council chose five finalists from 25 applications. The names were presented to the council, which approved the creation of a subcommittee to vet the names (Dispatch publisher Birney Imes chairs that committee.). 


When the names were released, this newspaper and some readers conducted a Google search of the candidates. Guess what? Turns out all of the candidates have things in their past that give pause, things that need to be explained to a prospective employer.  


Who among us is without sin? Better yet, who among us is without skeletons? Chances are if you've had a long career in law enforcement, you've hit a snag or two. 


A group of public-minded citizens was commissioned by the council and mayor to do a job. Tuesday Box made a motion to toss aside the work of the committee and begin anew. He and Ward 6 Bill Gavin were outvoted 4-2. What is the harm in letting that process play out? If, after the vetting, there are no acceptable choices, go back to the drawing board. 


On Sunday The Dispatch began a five-part series spotlighting a single candidate in each story. Dispatch police reporter Devin Golden's third installment, Sam Lathrop, is in today's paper. Golden is asking each candidate to explain the events that have raised doubts. 


If, after Golden's reporting and the vetting process of the Police Chief Search Subcommittee there are no satisfactory choices, then the city should begin anew. And it should not hesitate to do so if that's the case. 


Until then, Charlie and Bill, let's hold our fire. To declare someone who wants  to be our next police chief a loser is more a poor reflection on us than someone who may want the job. 


Let's stay calm, act deliberately and make a well-informed, non-politicalized decision about this hire. Do otherwise and we're all losers.