Opinion

Well worth the money | IN OUR OPINION

Bainbridge officials acknowledged this week that the comprehensive review of the Bainbridge Island Police Department by consultant Michael Pendleton will cost a bit more than previously expected.

City officials had originally hoped the report of the police department — the second in six months launched at the request of the city council — would cost $12,000.

It’s no great surprise, however, that the study will cost a bit more. Pendleton, an expert on police issues and organizational development, interviewed every employee in the police department, as well as city leaders and members of the community, before compiling his report and completing his recommendations for improvements. The city also asked Pendleton to add a few more names to his list of interviewees.

There was a lot for Pendleton to review, of course, and while some of the issues raised in the consultant’s report are not new — accountability among officers has been an ongoing problem, as well as communication breakdowns within the department and the agency’s poor relationship with some in the community — Pendleton’s report went further that the previous analysis of the department and rightly found the problems in leadership were not solely at the top. The report detailed faulty front-line leadership among the department’s lieutenants, and noted that the lieutenants should be culled from the police union that represents the rank and file.

Bainbridge police officers brought much credit upon themselves for speaking frankly about the problems in the department, and Police Chief Matthew Hamner and City Manager Doug Schulze have vowed to come back to the community with a plan to implement the recommendations of the Pendleton report.

The report will be well worth the money spent if it leads to the adoption of reforms within the department. Let’s hope the needed changes find full support throughout the police department, from top to bottom.

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