To the editor:
Breaking the Silence Part III
I have worked with Chief Luke for more than 12 years. Chief Luke was a Corporal in 2005 when I started. I can tell you that he was not kind, fair or honorable toward me as a new officer with Sumpter Township.
Chief Luke had to train me when I started back in 2005 and I worked with him in the same vehicle for over four months. The very first time I met Chief Luke after I was hired he couldn’t even introduce himself to me before he made himself clear that he was not going to take responsibility for my training and did not cover one single page in my Field Training book as officers before me and after me had received. For those who do not know what this Field Training book is about, let me explain further.
Many police departments across our state and throughout the country use this same FTO training system. It covers areas of law, department policy and procedures, local ordinances and daily observations of how the training officer is responding to “calls for service” and so on. Each day the field training officer will go over these areas with the new officer, grade them on their knowledge, performance and give constructive criticism where needed.
These “daily observation” pages are then signed by both the new officer and the training officer. Once this program is completed, the officer is then allowed to patrol in their own vehicle through the “shadow” phase. This training system is used to ensure the officer received adequate training, officer safety and to prepare the officer to go out on his/her own. My FTO book was/is completely blank! If Chief Luke were kind, fair and honorable he would have accepted orders from the Chief of Police back then, put his personal feelings aside and trained me like officers before me and after me had been trained.
I know a different side to Chief Luke that many citizens, his friends, and family do not know about or have experienced. I have experienced discrimination, unfair treatment, hostile work environment just to name a few. The unfair treatment I was exposed to as a police officer at the beginning of my career only got worse as Chief Luke climbed the ranks, regardless how hard I tried to be accepted by him. As Chief Luke climbed the ranks from Corporal, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain and Chief using one test (test that he took to become corporal many years earlier) was not looked upon as being very fair, especially when most police departments that follow the same FTO program have a testing process for each rank so other potentially qualified officers can compete for the same position.
I am not “Breaking the Silence” out of revenge, I am “Breaking the Silence” because years of this horrible, unfair treatment took its toll on me mentally, physically, personally, professionally and was long overdue to come out and it will continue to come out.
It is not very “honorable” when Chief Luke breaks department policy and hides a body camera in his office, allows an officer to go through years of hostile work environment, harassment, discrimination and unfair/unwanted treatment by a couple other “command officers” while he looked on or minimized what was really going on. It is not fair, kind nor honorable when Chief Luke could not put his personal feelings aside and treat other fellow officers with the same respect he demanded, expected and received.
It is not fair, kind, honorable or professional when Chief Luke is seen on the same body camera video he hid in his office showing him smiling to Lt. Gannon and appearing happy that he was able to fire me that day. The hidden body camera only scratches the surface of what he and Lt. Gannon have done to me and a few other officers over the years. It is not fair, kind or honorable when Chief Luke looks the other way when one of his upper command officers breaks department policies while others have been written up, suspended and/or terminated. It is not fair, kind, honorable professional, or possibly more serious violations, when certain members of the police department, township supervisor and township board members have all taken an oath yet look the other way and ultimately allow this type of conduct, etc. to continue on.
Former Sumpter Police Officer