Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Class vs. crass

Christopher P. Connell is a Milwaukee County Deputy Sheriff with 12-years on the force. Jason Fields is a second-term state representative from Milwaukee. One thing they shared in common this week is that both were arrested for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant.

Connell -- who took an oath to uphold the law -- registered .22 (nearly three times the "legal limit") on a breath test after he was arrested by a Hales Corners Police Officer whom he berated for busting him.

You know how many cops I have stopped and let go? Hundreds," Connell said. "If I saw a car smashed up against the wall and it was a cop, I would let it go, man. You did not have to do this to me."

What a piece of work Connell is to berate another law enforcement officer who was just doing his job. As Sheriff David Clarke put it, “It’s embarrassing when the kind of behavior we implore the public not to engage in, is exhibited by one of our own law enforcement officers.”

By contrast, Representative Fields, who "blew a .13" in his breath test, was fully cooperative when he was arrested by one of Connell's coworkers. Fields promptly came forward, apologized for his actions, acknowledged that he was wrong, intended to immediately plead guilty, praised the arresting officer and, in particular, made a special apology to children for failing to set a proper example. When questioned by reporters Fields did not duck, dodge or otherwise evade any question and made it clear that he was accepting his punishment as he should.

Sheriff Clarke is right on target. The public's confidence in law enforcement is rightly shaken when the people who are supposed to uphold the law instead break it. Representative Field was truly a class act for whom forgiveness is entirely possible. Connell, however. deserves to be fired.


Anonymous said...

You hit this subject right on the head. I was nearly dumbfounded by the officer, but Fields I am more than willing to give forgiveness to. He made a mistake, lived up to it, and is ready to move on. I hope Connell has to move on to a new line of work after admitting he failed to do his job "hundreds" of times.

Anonymous said...

Update - This officer was found passed out in his personal vehicle. The engine was running and he smelled of alcohol, however he was not arrested. Sheriff Clarke has recommended his termination, since he was just given a 30 day suspension for the 08 event.