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“Personality has been taken out of discipline,” Laux said at the time. “It’s like, ‘Have my lawyer talk to your lawyer.’ It’s all done through artificial means.”
Laux, who thinks things are better today, tried to fight the department’s bad image by spending “a lot of time in church basements,” talking to people. He also tapped the expertise of chiefs in other cities. He is glad Harteau is doing both.
Harteau has seized social media, taking to Facebook or Twitter doing meet-and-greets in the community (or even busting a guy for public drinking). She’s even gotten herself a slogan, “Commitment, integrity and transparency.”
Well, it’s better than “Beat ’em, bust ’em, that’s our custom,” but a slogan won’t be enough for the long haul, and the problems she faces can’t be solved in 140-character tweets.
Harteau has been media-evasive compared to some of her predecessors (former Chief Tim Dolan once invited me to “drop in any time”). Last week she gave a series of 10-minute interviews to local media to talk (vaguely) about the issues, and nothing about the suspicious shooting of Terrance Franklin, who was shot by police in May.
She spent more time listening to the national anthem on stage in the happy (safe) confines of the Ecuadorean festival on Lake Street Sunday afternoon (is this the “transparency” part?).
Standing in the audience, I had no idea if she was working hard to rid the department of its small number of bad cops, or not. But as I stood next to a food stall and watched the national dish — guinea pig — roast on a spit over a hot fire, I couldn’t help but feel some sympathy.
For the chief.
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