Thank you Chief DeLeo for speaking up!
And thank you Gerald Ensley for revealing a major problem in our community.
DeLeo, our police chief, who appears to have more courage than most, publicly stood up for the men in blue. And in doing so, he irritated the “Village Square Crowd.”
On Tuesday, at a ceremony for first responders, DeLeo said:
“I am tired of those who doubt our commitment and our resolve to serve. They cast stones from afar without taking time to learn facts. The words of these critics have little value to me, they have not rushed into unknown dangers to protect a stranger or seen the lifeless bodies of people taken by violence.”
Gerald Ensley, a charter member of the “Village Square Crowd”, responded to DeLeo’s comments by saying, “Do your job. Apologize when you can’t or don’t do it well. Save the moaning for your colleagues. Nobody else cares.”
Ensley, unwittingly, has revealed a major problem in our community-the inability for anyone to critique the insiders without being attacked.
Do not get me wrong, the insiders are fine with criticism as long as it does not come their way.
The insiders can criticize a police officer, but you better not say a word about the City Commission failing to properly fund public safety for the last eight years.
The insiders can fire three CDA dispatchers, but do not try and hold CDA management accountable for the incompetence on display in a core service.
The insiders can say our local businesses need help with “family” policies, but do not question an increase in fire service fees that disproportionately affect those same families that can least afford it!
The “Village Square Crowd” pretends they are debating issues that are important to the community, when really all they are doing is protecting the status quo and giving cover to the insiders.
This how it works – you can speak out as long as it is not too loud and it does not offend someone important. If you get out of hand the “Village Square Crowd” we will ring a bell and ask you to sit down.
Well, Mr. Ensley just rang the bell, but Mr. DeLeo is not going to sit down!
DeLeo has requested more police officers because the facts show the City Commission has turned their back on a core service for years and now we are paying for their decisions.
The results are evident in national studies that show our proclivity for violent crime and the lack of upward income mobility for those who need it most.
DeLeo will not accept the status-quo.
But the “Village Square Crowd” does not want to talk about the difficult issues.
Ensley continued by writing, “Pulling back the curtain of our jobs might make us feel better — but it won’t inspire confidence in others.”
In other words, hide behind the curtain, put your head in the sand and everything will be just fine!
Thanks Gerald! Now I understand exactly why things stay the same!
DeLeo and the city do nothing but ask for increases. I want to know what has been done by the Commission to work with the LCSO and other agencies to respond to crime. I want to know what DeLeo and company have done to refocus resources where the problems are most likely to occur. When will require the incoming agency head to examine the entire agency he or she commands and tell us how and why resources are deployed. How or why we could do without some of the administrative staff.
In short, justify every dime we give you and every every human resource you are provided.
Don’t tell me some Police Foundation ratio is what our goak should be. Tell me how you have maximize your existing resources. This goes for DeLeo and Favors. As an aside, DeLeo spoke to the Realtors and told us he didn’t care where the resources come from or who pays. Just give him what he had determined he needs. TIME FOR CHANGE downtown!
To Steve’s point of Chief De Leo taking exception to criticism from Gerald Ensley’s comments, how can a person take criticism and just do their job when not given the tools of which to work the job.
People are not realizing that it’s not just people that live in Tallahassee/Leon County that require police, fire and EMS services. Every day tens of thousands of people from the surrounding counties, and out-of-state workers come to work and take part in recreation in this area. On any given Monday thru Friday there can be over 500,000 people in this area having accidents, car burglaries, robberies, etc. Many of those incidents are dealt with by the police, county, fire and EMS and there are no property taxes taken from them, yet our services are rendered.
With this number of people and residents steadily growing, Tallahassee and Leon County have been behind the eight-ball because their employment numbers have not kept up with the growth of this area. Now Tallahassee/Leon County are facing an abundant number of retiring members with not enough new hires to replace them, let alone increase the numbers as is what’s needed.
I for one am not feeling as safe in this town as I once did, and its not because of the lack of professionalism by our officers and employees, but the lack of commitment to their needs and the needs of the people by our leaders.
I got sick of the Tallahassee Democrat’s perpetual and blatant bias the day after Obama was elected in 2008 and terminated my subscription.
I have not missed it. I invite others to do the same and stop supporting that propagandist rag.
Gerald Ensley is worse than the most garrulous old woman you have ever been annoyed by.
Thank you Steve for this opinion piece. For some of the people responding, please reread both opinion pieces with an open mind. You might see that this piece is on target. Actions speak louder than words and the Village Square’s actions say plenty. I guess I’m just to ignorant to realize or admit to it. Have a wonderful day.
Very seldom does any criticism capture all elements of its target, except in the case of Caddyshack II. Nothing is so simple that it can be explained or complained about adequately in 700 words.
Law enforcement cannot exempt themselves from critiques based on the nature of their jobs. Most times the community expects professionalism and a spirit of service. Do that,exemplify that, and most criticisms simply vanish. But communities that feel they are targeted by law enforcement, valid or not, are set up to be in opposition.
I wish Steve Stewart were intellectually honest enough to say that he is really not commenting on the actual point of Gerald Ensley’s column: that professionals should not complain when they are criticized by their customers—or in this case, the public. Ensley has not manifested a view that the police chief is bad for Tallahassee, or an anti-police attitude. That has nothing to do with this and Stewart is just merely using Ensley’s column to make fuss about an unrelated subject. (And on the merits of that unrelated subject, Stewart, is right: local leaders abhor criticism. And that’s a genuine problem with a one party town). But Gerald Ensley himself has criticized the City Commission’s anti-smoking policy, FSU’s PR debacles, unprofessionalism at FAMU, his former colleague during an open county commission race in 2012, etc. I don’t think he’s afraid of criticizing.
Gerald Ensley and his ilk are an embarrassment to this community. It is high time for the “Village Square Allegiance” to go the way of the dodo. They are out of touch with what is good and proper in society.
Steve, you are a voice for all of us, and I so wish you were the mayor,gosh I do.
Gerald should never have left the sports desk.
Well done Steve!! and i agree with all of these comments.
Well done Chief DeLeo. I agree with what Michael Hines stated. Having lived in Miami and Ft. Myers and worked in law enforcement in both cities, I saw the high amount of violent crime in the former and the rise of it in the latter. After moving to the Tallahassee area a number of years ago, I was surprised to see almost nightly on the news stories about bank robberies or shootings.
Law enforcement along with fire protection are core functions of our ordered society. Funding for them must be placed ahead of discretionary items, for if we have a lack of public safety these other items become irrelevant. Take for example taxpayer money for “economic development”. Let’s say the city gives away $100,000 to build a new building for a business. What happens when there are insufficient police and fire workers to provide adequate coverage and the building burns down?
combine city and county let the sherif)elected official) to be in charge
Hope, you stated it beautifully. Because MARY ANN LINDLEY, GERALD ENSLEY, BOB GABORDI and others went along with the corruption and self dealing and in fact supported it. We, the tax payers, are now spending $500,000 a year on Ethic Office and Commission because the we do not have an independent watchdog press.
We need the Democrat. How else will we learn the latest restaurant that TaMaryn Waters has dined at.
hahahaha… Dr, Holifield, you give me hope. 😉
Around 2000 a PERF Manpower Report was made at request of the City Commission and TPD. It was followed by an internal manpower and staffing review (Deputy Chief Cheryl Stewart) that identified a severe manpower and staffing shortage at TPD. If updated to current date the shortfall in manpower would equal approximately 140+/- sworn officers. Nothing was done to address the shortfall at that time. The PERF Report was premised on a 50% time allotment for “proactive policing” which is in line with National Community Policing Standards as established by the USDOJ. If we want a true version of Community Policing within the City of Tallahassee, then it is far past time that we find the resources to provide our Police Chief and TPD adequate manpower, staffing, training, equipment and a decent salary base (including pay grade changes and if necessary in grade pay increases for current officers and advanced appointment rates for recruiting new officers and personnel. This is simply a factual statement and we need to stop firing and hiring new Chiefs of Police and placing them into a position of impotence knowing full well that they are destined to fail. If we cannot afford to reallocate our City priorities and spending to accommodate this then we ought to tell our Police Chief now and provide him a graceful exit if he is so inclined. Chief DeLeo appears to me to be a fine professional policeman and administrator. He deserves the support of our community and especially our City Commission. I admire him for standing his ground and simply being truthful with our community. It would be the right thing to do to back this man up and give him the support and the tools he needs to keep our community safe.
Mary Ann Lindley while at the Tallahassee Democrat never questioned the incompetence, corruption, and mismanagement going back for over 15 years…but, she did pander to it, promote it, protected it, and even endorsed it…over and over and over again.
Her recklessness, carelessness, and self serving indifference has served her well. She was a PR rep for the corrupt and incompetent and not our watchdog. It enabled her to further her agenda to be in a position of leadership – at the taxpayers expense – where she has failed miserably to lead to the detriment of citizens safety.
It is a fact that citizens are threatened, sued, arrested, and met with violence – by the usual suspects – for questioning or exposing corruption…AND MARY ANN LINDLEY, GERALD ENSLEY, BOB GABORDI…among others went along with it as well. Many injustices still go unreported because Lindley, Ensley, and Gabordi were supporting the perpetrators involved in the injustices.
The decades of misuse of public relations to promote themselves for self serving advantages mostly at the taxpayers expense has finally caught up with them and been exposed by their own negligence and incompetence.
One of the players just filed to run for Superintendent of Schools. Who in their right mind would vote to have one of these perps have any power and control over our children? I guess we will see how stupid voters really are to allow the insanity to continue at the expense of our most precious resources.
Well said Steve. I look forward to Gerald’s blathering response.