Executive Director of the Columbia Police Officers Assoc Posts “Officer Darren Wilson Day” Meme on Anniversary of Michael Brown Killing
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Oops, he did it again. On the anniversary of the death of Michael Brown who was shot by the Ferguson Police Department in Missouri, Dale Roberts, the Executive Director of the Columbia Police Officers Association posted on their Facebook page that it was “Officer Darren Wilson Day” and shared the below meme which was circulated by the Fraternal Order of Police. The City Manager and the Police Chief denounced the CPOA and threatened to not hire more police officers until they have fired Roberts, who has made similar insensitive and divisive statements in the past, further inflaming tension between law enforcement and residents of Columbia, Missouri.
In 2013, I wrote about Roberts who made inappropriate comments after a Texas State Trooper was charged with sexual battery after conducting unconstitutional body cavity searches on two women. But, this was not his first media gaffe, as earlier that year he made this racially charged comment about the need to purchase an armored personnel carrier by the police department.
“If CPD rolled up in the new Mercedes 6×16, you KNOW all the boys in the hood would come running out of the house.”
Roberts and the CPOA were forced to issue a public apology with Roberts declaring that his quote was simply taken out of context. It’s clear that Roberts has been not just problematic but divisive for the City of Columbia and its residents as the post about Darren Wilson spurred a protest at the police department.
Roberts either displays a complete lack of media acumen or is unable to filter his true feelings about the community that he lives and works in. He should be reminded of the statement he issued after his first public apology and held to task for not living up to that standard.
“The Columbia Police Officers’ Association, on behalf of our members, strives to build a positive working relationship with the administration of the Columbia Police Department, the leaders of the City of Columbia, and the citizens our members serve.”
Clearly it’s time for the Board of Directors of the CPOA to recognize that Roberts’ continued role as their executive director is not benefitting the members of their own organization, and is negatively impacting the relationship between them and the citizens that they have sworn to protect. Roberts’s posts and continued media gaffes are not just insensitive and provocative, but unprofessional and reflects poorly on all members of the Columbia Police Department, not just their Association.
This troubling pattern is not just a Columbia issue, but is reflective of the huge divide between law enforcement and their communities across the nation. It’s time to make our voices heard.
You can support Police Chief Ken Burton and the City Manager who have called for the ouster of Roberts by letting the CPOA know how you feel. If you would like to express your outrage, send emails to Dale Roberts, Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep it clean and professional and maybe we can take back our police departments, one agency at a time. It’s time to return the peace to policing and to hold organizations accountable for behavior such as this.