MARK KIESLING: Does convicted cop deserve state's top award?

2012-08-12T00:00:00Z MARK KIESLING: Does convicted cop deserve state's top award? nwitimes.com
August 12, 2012 12:00 am

 

I'd be interested in knowing what you think about the recent decision of the Indiana State Fraternal of Police.

 

In June, the state's FOP gave Lt. Edward Davies the highest recognition it can award — this despite the fact in 1999 he was convicted of stealing a mink coat from a drug dealer during a raid while he was commander of the sheriff's anti-drug unit.

 

At the time, Davies worked for the Lake County Sheriff's Police, and his former colleague on the department Tim Downs is now the president of the state FOP.

 

Downs knows, as I do, that in many ways Davies was a good cop.

 

He was one of five officers commended for his role in the arrest of the so-called "Shotgun Killer," Christopher Peterson, in 1990 and Dr. Gary Shipley, who was found guilty of killing his daughter in 1991.

 

Now the head of security at Indiana University Northwest in Gary, Davies has looked like the model citizen since his one transgression.

 

Yet police officers are held to a higher standard than ordinary citizens. Whether that is fair or not is debatable, but I would argue that those sworn to enforce the laws are compelled to obey the laws.

 

Realistically, we all know that police officers are human beings, and as such are vulnerable to those slings and arrows of outrageous fortune that this flesh is heir to.

 

That said, I think it's a fair question to ask whether Davies should have been awarded the highest honor — the Addie Maddox Award — by the state FOP.

 

I think we all can recognize and appreciate the service he has put in, and I find him a very likable fellow myself.

 

But was there no police officer in the state of Indiana without a misdemeanor conviction that has held himself or herself to the same dedication?

 

It was supposedly being considered at one time by Sheriff John Buncich, under whose previous tenure Davies held a commander's position, to name Davies as the warden at the Lake County Jail.

 

Giving it some thought, Buncich apparently considered the notion as more controversial than he cared to endure.

 

Buncich once appointed Davies as his representative on the county's Insurance Oversight Committee.

 

"Isn't his conviction for theft?" said Rogelio "Roy" Dominguez at the time. Dominguez later went on to win the sheriff's race and is now a lawyer. "It's just amazing."

 

Dominguez added that Davies "is not exactly the guy I'd want to look over my pension plan."

 

Does there come a time to put the past behind us? Yes. But you can't overlook the criminal conviction, as much as I would like to.

 

The opinions are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at mark.kiesling@nwi.com or (219) 933-4170.

 

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