Former chief calls out council on handling of police department

Opinion

Dear Editor

I’m writing this letter to voice some concerns I have as a member of this community. A May 22, 2019 article of the Pen City Current, which was titled, “City approves using sheriff as interim police chief” contains some points of which I would like to address. The following took place prior to the council voting on the measure.

County Supervisor Rich Harlow brought up when Bruce Niggemeyer was Chief. Harlow said Niggemeyer left because of the “heat” he was getting as chief. He said there are also reasons why Sittig is leaving.

Councilman Greenwald responded, “I want to go to the truth with you. Council’s bullying the police chiefs let’s go right to that. We’ve been bullying chiefs of police for a long time…that’s the elephant in the room.”

Would Councilman Greenwald respond by a letter to the editor in which we would first determine who he is pertaining to when he mentions that “we’ve been bullying the chiefs”? Second, Mr. Greenwald, why do you and your fellow bullies feel you have the right to intimidate and bully the chief’s position? Third, what makes you an authority on police management?

Duane Sherwood’s letter to the editor in the Daily Democrat on May 13 mentions the issue of “amateur authorities in City hall on Law Enforcement”. In addition, Leroy Lannenfeld’s letter on May 16 makes a point on “Bully politics”. I encourage you to go to both websites and click onto “Opinions” for full content.

I do not believe that the other six council members are involved in this conduct. They and the county supervisors have been given a “false narrative” as well as a “Manufactured Crisis” by the bullies who have shown a continuing pattern of micromanaging the chief’s position. Those whom they could not control, they forced out.

They now have someone in charge who they want and are willing to spend tax payers dollars when it was not necessary or could have been made available for the new chief. For a good explanation of how the council (Greenwald and his bullies) have treated the sheriff as opposed to past chiefs please read Nancy Estrada’s letter to the editor in the June 4th edition of the Democrat. It explains how the prior chiefs were denied funding and when the sheriff was named interim chief he was given everything that prior chiefs had been denied.

When this was vote on there were four FMPD captains and a chief with over 125 years of experience.

The chief at the time who was Sittig, had over 30 years experience in law enforcement, the last three years at the FMPD. One of the captains has seven years as chief and another was an interim chief for 11 months. Any one of the above could have been the interim chief but they did not meet the bully’s standards. Unfortunately two of the prior chiefs were forced out because they did not meet the bully’s standards.

With this vote this council allocated $50,000.00 to pay for the six month salary and benefits for a deputy to be onsite at the FMPD. In addition this same deputy would receive a weekly stipend of $250. The other two deputies would receive weekly stipends $190 and $150. That adds up to $590 per week, $2,360 per month and $14,160 for the six months. That would total $64,160 allocated for the sheriff’s department for the six months, which would be approximately $10,693.33 per month being paid to the sheriff’s department. Ironically, the city manager has found plenty of the taxpayers’ money for the sheriff that he could not find for the prior chiefs. Refer to the Monday, May 20, article in the Daily Democrat titled, “Votes will allow Sheriff to oversee FMPD”.

Elected officials should not be allowed to use their positions of authority for their own personal agendas. The use of “false narratives” gives an inaccurate and self-serving depiction of our police department. The real problem lies within our city officials who choose to use micromanagement as a form of control.

Sam Lozano

About Chuck Vandenberg 5457 Articles
Pen City Current and pencitycurrent.com are products of Market Street Publishing, LLC, a multi-platform media company delivering hyper-local news, sports and advertising information to Fort Madison, IA and surrounding communities.

3 Comments

  1. It is hard to believe a guy that has committed fraud at his business is running our town as a councilman…not a surprise this and probably more is happening.we need to vote like our community and lives depends on it.

  2. The city Council has repeatedly for years been using the council position to get their own personal projects and keep the decisions and information away from the public. We need a whole new city council that are not in the good ole boys club. I hope that more people like me are waking up and running for office.

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