Focus on real issues, not sleeping police | LETTER TO THE EDITOR
September 17, 2012 · 9:33 AM
To the editor:
I founded an organization, last year, called Islanders for Collaborative Policing. Over the past few months, Islanders for Collaborative Policing volunteers have developed a set of recommendations to address a trust gap that exists between our police and island residents.
I wish I was writing a letter about our report, since it points the way toward some much-needed changes at the Bainbridge Island Police Department. But I am writing instead about the Review’s decision to feature Lieutenant Phil Hawkins on its front page, and a nap he was caught taking.
Here are the facts: Lt. Hawkins was working a graveyard shift. He fell asleep at his desk. No calls were missed during the snooze, and it was an isolated incident.
The Review’s decision to feature this story on its front page is distasteful for two reasons. First, it’s insulting to Lt. Hawkins, who deserves better than this treatment. Phil has served honorably at the Bainbridge Police Department for over two decades and, thanks to your headline, will now be reduced to a punchline because of a trivial incident.
Second, it is insulting to Review readers, most who know the difference between a news story and trumped up gossip. If Lt. Hawkins had performance issues, our city manager, I assume, wouldn’t have made him our acting police chief after the close of his “investigation.” Let’s focus on the real problems facing the Bainbridge Island Police Department, like leadership uncertainty, undefined goals, and the need for mental health partnerships and training. The Review should be leading the effort to educate and inform, not wasting our time with distractions.