BY ED FELIEN
When Mayor Frey announced an end to fear-based warrior training for Minneapolis police, Police Federation President Bob Kroll announced his Federation would offer that warrior training free to Minneapolis police officers.
Warrior training was cited as the principal cause of Officer Yanez’s killing of Philando Castile. It was that kind of conditioning that was probably responsible for the Minneapolis police killings of Travis Jordan, Thurman Blevins, Jamar Clark and Terrance Franklin.
Tragically, the mayor and police chief acted only after it became obvious that Mohamed Noor (a black officer) killed Justine Damond (a white woman) as a result of this training and conditioning.
Black lives didn’t matter.
What Kroll did when he attempted to establish a contrary training program was to countermand a very clear policy directive from the mayor and chief of police.
Civil Service Rule 11: “Causes for Disciplinary Action: Misconduct is the failure to comply with any work rule, policy, ordinance or law or any behavior that would offend a reasonable person.” “Insubordination (failure to follow a directive from a supervisor).”
The Federation labor agreement with the city says, “It is understood that the City, through its various Departments, has the right to establish reasonable work rules and regulations,” and Section 8.01 says, “The Federation, its officers or agents, or any of the employees covered by this Agreement shall not cause, instigate, encourage, condone, engage in or cooperate in any strike, the stoppage of work, work slowdown, the willful absence from one’s position, or the abstinence in whole or in part from the full, faithful and proper performance of the duties of employment, regardless of the reasons for so doing.”
Why weren’t Kroll’s actions misconduct and insubordination, a violation of the city’s right to establish reasonable work rules and a direct attempt to interfere with the “faithful and proper performance of the duties of employment”?
Why hasn’t he been fired?
I asked former Minneapolis Police Chief Tony Bouza what he thought about warrior training. He said the training didn’t really matter. It was about discipline and accountability. He never had a police shooting in the nine years he was chief, “I ruled with an iron hand. They feared me, and they knew what would happen if they stepped out of line.”
Police work is tough.
It’s a hard and a dangerous job.
USA Today did a study, and they concluded cops were in the 14th most dangerous occupation in the U.S. There were 14.6 fatal injuries per 100,000 officers in 2016. The median annual wage is $59,680.
The seventh most dangerous job in the U.S. was collecting garbage and recyclables. They had 34.1 fatal injuries per 100,000 workers. Their median annual wage is $35,270.
Our city sanitation worker’s job is more than twice as dangerous as police work for a bit more than half the pay.
They’re the quiet heroes working for the City of Minneapolis.
Council Member Alondra Cano, chair of the Public Safety Committee, responded to this commentary:
“I invite Police Federation President Bob Kroll to join the much needed work of police reform to better serve our communities. However, calling for free ‘warrior training’ that our Mayor has stood up against goes completely against the values of helping to establish more connections and understanding between our rank and file police officers and our Minneapolis residents. We can and should do better than that.”