Chief Halstead: 'I will find you and I will fire you' (unless, apparently, you raid a gay bar)

Posted on 29 Apr 2010 at 11:03am
Wesley Lamb
Wesley Lamb

“To those very, very select few who think that you can stand against policy, that you can violate the public’s trust, I will find you and I will fire you,” Fort Worth Police Chief Jeff Halstead told a news conference yesterday, according to The Star-Telegram.

No,  he wasn’t talking about the officers who raided the Rainbow Lounge. He was talking about the latest string of scandals to hit the department including this week’s arrest of officer Wesley Lamb.

Lamb was arrested for smoking a doobie — in uniform — in his patrol car.

Not kewl, dude.

Um, not that I know from personal experience or anything, but I’ve read — and have had confirmed for me by others in my office — I mean anonymous sources — with firsthand experience with mary jane — that weed, when burned, leaves a distinct odor and the next person getting into the car might get a clue.

Other officers just might smell it on your uniform. Hell, your dry cleaner would smell it on your uniform.

Lamb is free on $7,500 bail. He resigned from the FWPD on Wednesday.

The Star-Telegram reports that Halstead is “disgusted” and “will ‘never, ever tolerate’ criminal behavior by officers.”

Unless they raid a gay bar?

Other recent problems in the department include traffic officers fraudulently filling out government forms to claim overtime in a program funded by a federal grant.

The department is also under scrutiny for the death by Taser of a mentally ill man.

On Friday, off-duty officer Michael Buchanan had a blood-alcohol more than twice the legal limit when he plowed into a house, knocking a sleeping couple out of bed,

In a December incident, a Fort Worth officer was driving drunk and killed a 27-year-old mother with two young children.

All this led the S-T to wonder in an editorial yesterday, “Who’s listening to the Fort Worth police chief?”

In June, police and agents from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission raided the Rainbow Lounge, a gay bar south of downtown, and were accused of using excessive force. The beverage commission officers were fired, but Halstead handed three Fort Worth officers only short suspensions for policy violations. …

Halstead came from Phoenix to take over the Fort Worth department in December 2008. His first year on the job was trying, but there was reason to cut him some slack because he was still new.

Now he owns everything his department and its officers do, on-duty and off. If he can’t sever the string of bad news and embarrassment, it’s reasonable to ask whether he is up to the task of being chief.

He has mandated alcohol awareness training for all officers. He opened another internal-affairs investigation into whether any officers at the party knew Cisneros had been drinking to excess but let him drive away.

Those are good steps, but Buchanan and his truck still landed in that bedroom. Either Halstead is not getting his message across, or somebody’s not listening.

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