Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome pledged in her campaign last fall to find a new police chief, but for months she could not act on that promise: Civil service protections meant that Chief Carl Dabadie remained on the job, and if anything — the police union had not endorsed Broome in either primary or general election — her opposition to the chief may have made him more popular with rank-and-file officers.
With Dabadie’s retirement, she owns the selection of a new chief.
From the mayor’s standpoint, it is not a good time politically. The Attorney General’s Office is still reviewing the events of July 5 of last year, when Alton Sterling died in a confrontation with two officers. No federal charges were filed, but state charges might ensue.
Either way, Broome’s chief likely will have to decide whether to discipline the officers in the case. It’s a decision that might be unpopular with officers. Or, if no discipline is ordered, unpopular with some Broome supporters in the black community. Had Dabadie stayed on a bit longer, that call might have come on his watch.
It’s a shame that the federal and state reviews of the Sterling case have taken so long. That’s not Dabadie’s fault. But he leaves his successor with a tough decision ahead.
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