Police Chief Ed Windbigler recently announced his resignation. This comes in light of video of two officers under his command beating a handcuffed man who tried to spit on them. The chief downplayed the situation during a review last June. The officers were reprimanded at that time; however, they were subsequently charged with misdemeanor battery after news outlets attained a copy of the video.
Overlooking troubling behavior
Windbigler admitted to making mistakes, but justified his actions overall in a statement as decisions that were in the “best interests of the department.” According to local reports, the best interests included such troubling details as:
- Windbigler promoted 18 officers who had faced prior discipline
- Most of the department’s supervisors had faced prior discipline
- Windbigler was promoted to chief without approval from the town’s Police Merit Commission
- The chief was promoted with a DUI conviction that came to light only after local media scrutinized his records.
Legal protection is crucial
After intense criticism from local and media, the town’s mayor prompted the chief to resign, citing the chief’s lack of judgment in not promptly notifying the mayor of the incident and for dismissing the severity of the two officers’ actions.
It is a potent reminder that the interests of the police department and its personnel can sometimes be a bigger priority than serving and protecting the community. This is why it is always recommended to get knowledgeable legal representation when facing criminal charges. Not all police abuse their power, but they are human and can make mistakes in behavior or gathering evidence that put them outside the guidelines of proper behavior.