Joplin Police Chief Kevin Lindsey is one of three finalists for the Grand Island, Neb., police chief position, according to today's issue of the Grand Island Independent.
If Lindsey is chosen, he will immediately have to soothe some hurt feelings in the department. The requirements for chief established by the city officials appear designed to keep veteran Grand Island police officers from being eligible to apply.
The other applicants, according to the article, are Steven Lamken, 56, director of the Grand Island Law Enforcement Training Center, and Michael Smitley, a writer, who is seeking to return to law enforcement where he had a 30-year career. Lamken might have the upper hand since he was police chief in Kearney, Neb., from 1987 to 1996, where his boss was Gary Greer, currently Grand Island's city administrator.
It is not surprising that Lindsey is looking at other opportunities, considering the onslaught of negative publicity the Joplin Police Department has received during the past few months.
Lindsey, 48, had a reputation for openness and honesty in dealing with the public at his previous position, has been hamstrung in Joplin by the policies of city leaders, including City Manager Mark Rohr, who have not allowed him to reveal the discipline administered to two officers involved in the handcuffing and browbeating of an 11-year-old at a Joplin elementary school.
Lindsey successfully used a different approach during his days as police chief in Madison, Wisconsin, as revealed in the May 21 Turner Report. In Madison, two police officers tried to cover up an incident in which one of them kicked a handcuffed man. One officer received a six-day suspension for kicking the man and not reporting what he had done. The other officer received a one-day suspension for dishonesty and for not reporting a minor injury he had received during the struggle. The man who was kicked did not need medical attention, according to the newspaper that carried the story, the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison. The date on that article is March 22, 2001.
All information came from Lindsey, who showed no hesitation in sharing the information about the discipline he meted out to the officers with the media and the public. He found out that's not the way things are done in Joplin.