Using real names, not always advisable
In reference to your column on signing your convictions as it pertains to forestpark.com’s message board: do you not realize that most message boards (and I can’t think of one that requires a person to use their “real” name) are a place to express thoughts and ideas? It is not run by the village or endorsed by it. People don’t use their real names because what if some nut decided they didn’t like what I or someone else was saying and they show up at my doorstep? Then what? In this day and age, you can’t be too careful.
It’s a message board. Check out a few different ones. See how many require your real name.
Calderone defends cops and criticizes Review for coverage
As mayor of Forest Park, I feel I must respond to the many erroneous allegations made by Attorney Jeannine Stevens that were printed in a recent REVIEW article, “Female cops allege department creating hostile workplace,” May 18, 2005.
This distortion of the facts is a disservice not only to the men and women of our police force, but to the citizens for whom they put themselves in harms way everyday.
In my view, it is an improper attempt to achieve through public embarrassment that which the Ms. Stevens could not achieve in the courtroom.
The first priority of our police department is protecting the public health and safety of our citizens. All our programs and policies are carefully developed to ensure that in no instance do we ever jeopardize public safety; this is what we owe our citizens. But we also owe our workers a safe and harassment free workplace. Our policies strongly support a safe, secure work environment.
We have stringent and consistent personnel policies in place that address these issues. We are continually training office and supervisory personnel. We host professional training seminars, using outside respected consultants, in every aspect of effective policing, including stressing an environment that is free from sexual harassment.
We conducted a nationwide search for a new police chief in 2003. Since his appointment, Chief Ryan has further professionalized the Department and continues to strive for the highest levels of efficiency, safety and tolerance among a diverse work force. He has worked diligently to bring harmony back to the Police Department and I applaud his progress.
In that spirit, and out of consideration for Officer Caines’ feelings, every possible measure has been taken to schedule Officer Caines and Lt. Cody on different shifts.
But the safety of our community must take precedent over personal feelings and we cannot guarantee that they will not cross paths during work hours. Lt. Cody does not have daily supervisory authority over Officer Caines because they are scheduled on different shifts. Lt. Cody has no influence on her assignments, her schedule or her performance reviews.
Officer Caines herself has stated that Lt. Cody has not acted unprofessionally or in any untoward manner. If she felt uncomfortable, there were recourses and procedures she could have availed herself of, but chose not to. Officer Caines could have gone to her immediate supervisor, the Police Chief or me. Since I have been mayor, I have always had a well-known open door policy at the Village for residents and employees alike.
The story also falsely alleges that Lt. Cody has been appointed the head of Internal Affairs. That is simply not true; the Chief of Police is the head of Internal Affairs.
The story also quotes Ms. Stevens’ claims that the Village is not purchasing new bulletproof vests or that there is some problem with the current vests. Every officer is provided with functional bulletproof vests. These vests are rotated periodically at the manufacturer’s recommendation. Officer Caines was fitted for a new vest in March.
As to the statement by her attorney that we have not accommodated Sergeant Frawley’s medical issues, this again is not accurate.
Sgt. Frawley has indeed had a series of unfortunate non-work related medical setbacks and we have been supportive throughout. Because we are a small community, with a small but efficient department, we do not currently have open positions that are solely “light duty.” Furthermore, we want Sgt. Frawley to fully recover before returning to work.
She has been fully compensated during her recuperation and we look forward to her return to full duty when medical advice supports that status.
Throughout this ordeal, which surfaced over two years ago, we have followed procedures, enhanced and strengthened our policies and promoted a safe and harmonious work environment. We have also been supportive of both Officer Caines and Sgt. Frawley. But the article in the paper unfairly denigrates the department, the village and whose own colleagues.
By using the media to threaten litigation, and spread inaccurate or misleading information, it is Stevens who threatens the workplace harmony that staff has strived to achieve.
Last, while the news media owes a responsibility to the public to report facts accurately, this particular story was written absent some very important information which unnecessarily and consequently misled the public and our employees. Had the reporter taken the time to investigate the allegations given to them by a single source, rather than rush to a quick story, they would have found that some of the information was embellished with the remainder invalid and thus not newsworthy and our efforts at healing wouldn’t have been stymied.
Readers of this letter should know that once the REVIEW was made aware of the facts, its editor flat out refused to write a retraction. I find that type of reporting reprehensible and irresponsible.
I continue to stand ready to resolve any legitimate issues any member of the Police Department or any other department may have. I look forward to resolving them through the proper channels established.
The people of our Village deserve to know the facts ” not the unsubstantiated allegations ” and I appreciate the opportunity to set the record straight.
The safety of our citizens is always our highest concern.
Editor’s note: The week of May 18 when the article “Female cops allege department creating hostile workplace” appeared in the REVIEW, the newspaper staff made multiple attempts to contact several village officials for comment and were told multiple times that all communications should go through the village administrator. Village Administrator Michael Sturino said he had no comment.
The following week, the village sought a retraction in the paper but officials were again unwilling to fully go on the record with their positions.
Today, we are pleased to present Mayor Anthony Calderone’s response to Ms. Steven’s allegations.