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A conversation between readers and the editor of The Morning Journal in Lorain, Ohio

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Standing by Chief Rivera and Lorain's police

Attached to an earlier posting at http://tinyurl.com/28r9vz9 today I found a couple of comments pertaining to how well, or not, Lorain Police Chief Cel Rivera is doing in his job. The poster made a comment critical of the chief and then took about two minutes to decide wrongly how the first post would be treated here. Below are the two posts from earlier today, followed by my answer:
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel bad for the police officers in Lorain. Cel Rivera is so busy straightening deck chairs that he doesn't see the sinking ship. And why is it that everytime Lorain gets into a financial mess (which is often) the first things that they want to cut are police and fire services? Maybe Rivera could use only one secretary instead of 3three, not to mention the Lieutanant he took off the street to be one of his personal assistants.
May 20, 2010 12:24 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...
I see the notice "Your comment will be visible after approval." Well, I guess that my comment won't be posted. This whole town knows what good friends the Chief and the Editor are. Heaven forbid the Morning Journal print anything real about Cel Rivera.
May 20, 2010 12:26 PM 

For the record, I think Rivera is a good chief running a good department under extremely difficult circumstances. Nobody is perfect all the time, but given the financial pinch, manpower shortage, civil service system and union issues all severely complicating how a chief can handle his department, I think Rivera is doing a good job overall. A number of bad apples finally have been rooted out of the department in the past couple of years. Not all officers are right in all situations, either, but overall the majority do a good, conscientious job.

The poster made a timely comment because this is the day that the chief and others were meeting with officials from the Department of Justice which is looking at the police operation following complaints from some members of City Council and the public. It will be interesting to see what the DOJ eventually concludes following its exhaustive look at Rivera and his department.

My bet is, they'll have some helpful suggestions for tightening up training and procedures, but no knockout blows against Rivera or his officers, despite the chronic claims from detractors.

What do you think?

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That post from Tom is outrageous! I guess time will tell what egg gets on his face. Shame. I guess paid ads and first stroy press is better than stating the facts.

May 21, 2010 at 1:22 PM 
Blogger Tom Skoch, Editor, The Morning Journal said...

Typical anonymous, fact-less, smear reply. Anybody out there with a real name and a spine have something to say?

May 21, 2010 at 1:47 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, Tom has a right to his own opinion, even if we don't agree with it. But, it's hard to ignore, that the department has been under a federal investigation for almost two years, 3 officers have been indicted criminally, and two have been found guilthy in the last year. We also have not touched on the fact that 1 officer was fired for tardiness, and another was forced to resign due to drinking on the job.

The chief has had two editorials from the Elyria Chronicle asking for Cel to render his resignation, because Judge Aaron Polster found that Cel was indifferent when it came to punishing his officers for sexual misconduct. To drive this point home, the city settled for $175,000 with the plaintiff Sarah Long. Had the city fought it, they may have won based on her limited credibility.

Tom, you may be right, that in the end, no one will go to jail, but Cel will not be totally absolved from his problems. I know of at least 9 officers who came forward and spoke to the FEDS at the Holiday Inn, last year in Elyria, and much of what they said was criminal in nature. We can argue, that at least three of those officers had questionable backgrounds but the other 6 left the department on good terms, and two of those six were a sergeant and lieutenant.

As for your relationship with Cel, it is not hard to ignore. I mean a newspaper man is supposed to be objective, but we all are human, and sometimes close relationship blur ones perspective. For, the most part Tom, you have done a good job, and are widely respected by me and allotta of other people in our community.

Case in point, is the raid on Joey Montelon house, two years ago. He had been accused of writing disparaging letters about the Chief. Many people in the community, saw those letters, and said the raid violated Mr. Montelon's right to free speech. Though, your paper has been more then fair in reporting Mr. Montelon's story. In fact, it's been exemplerary.

Mr. Skoch, we all have a right to our opinion, and without the first amendment, we would be just another communist country. Some people, do not have the fortitude, to come out and say their name, when stating their opinion, but Mr. Montelon's case, is an example of what happens when someone exercises that right.

As for the party who took the low blow against you, I too as a person would find their posting offensive.

May 21, 2010 at 3:52 PM 
Blogger Larry Crnobrnja said...

Tom, people have long thought they know more than they actually do. Access to the internet has only spawned a new breed of ignorant know-it-alls.

We wouldn't have this problem if Al Gore hadn't created the internet!

May 21, 2010 at 4:03 PM 
Anonymous Michael Kokinda Sr. said...

I don't know all of the details on how Chief Rivera does things or the credibility of his detractors. I also don't have budget data in front of me to make some kind of comment on the job the Chief is doing with what he has at hand. I do know that 5 officers patrolling the streets of Lorain at any given time is not enough and if the ship is ever going to be righted, people have to feel safe. Talk to someone from in the county that is not from Lorain....they treat Lorain as a war zone.

May 23, 2010 at 11:07 PM 

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