All around the country, a lot of very vocal activists are screaming about how we need to defund the police. There’s a strong anti-police sentiment, at least according to the media, and that’s very troubling. What’s more troubling, though, is that politicians are ready to jump at the public perception rather than maintain anything approaching a cool head.
As a result of such a situation in Rochester, NY, their police chief and his entire command staff resigned.
Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary has retired from the Rochester Police Department.
The announcement was made Tuesday amid calls from protesters for him and Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren to resign after the death of Daniel Prude.
Warren has not announced any plans to resign, nor did she ask Singletary to retire.
Singletary served the RPD for 20 years and became the chief in April 2019 after a national search that drew more than 20 applicants. He was recommended for the job unanimously by the internal review committee.
Dep. Chief Joseph Morabito also announced his retirement after more than 34 years of service to the RPD. Dep. Chief Mark Simmons is returning to the rank of lieutenant. Dep. Chief Mark Mura has returned to his previous rank of captain. Commander Fabian Rivera announced his retirement, and Commander Henry Favor is returning to his previous rank of lieutenant. Commander Elena Correia also announced she will retire.
Chief Singletary, in a statement, said:
As a man of integrity, I will not sit idly by while outside entities attempt to destroy my character. The events over the past week are an attempt to destroy my character and integrity. The members of the Rochester Police Department and the Greater Rochester Community know my reputation and know what I stand for. The mischaracterization and the politicization of the actions that I took after being informed of Mr. Prude’s death is not based on facts, and is not what I stand for.
Now, the Daniel Prude case is one we haven’t really talked about here. There are definitely some troubling aspects to the man’s death, but at the same time, we don’t have the whole story.
The problem is that we now live in a world where if anyone dies following an interaction with the police, people start calling for heads. Meanwhile, law enforcement is still expected to step up and provide more than ever before.
For a police chief, if a city turns against them, even if it’s unwarranted, it’s time to go. There’s just no option left. After all, the chief will get blamed for anything and everything and that creates a toll on anyone, but also takes a toll on his family.
Singletary is far from the only chief to resign recently after their community turned against them. However, most retirements don’t end up with the chief and his entire command staff leaving their posts at the same time. Now, the department has no top-end leadership and, frankly, I don’t see anyone taking the interim job out of the blue like this.
However, what we can expect to see is a lot more of this in the coming months.