In support of Police Chief Roger Peterson on Veterans Day

I don’t typically weigh in or make public on personal / HR matters, but I do want to make some information available for the community.  I am an outspoken critic of cronyism, nepotism, and the culture of good old boys that I have seen in Rochester.  Just as I feel that no one should benefit from their connections, I also feel that no one should be punished for their connections.

Though I have heard from some critics, I am a strong support of Roger Peterson and am happy to say so publicly.  The reality is that the crime rate and serious crime rate in Rochester is lower today than it was when Rochester was named the best place to live in America back in the early 90’s.  Not many people realize that when they read the press headlines.

There are some disagreements about techniques and we do have some hot spots that need more attention.  4 1/2 street, this means you.  To his credit Roger has been open to feedback and continues to change the department to further improve its performance.

I also appreciate Roger’s willingness to see the whole picture for the community of Rochester.  Even though Public Safety spending continues to grow faster than the city as a whole, Roger has stated funding more police officers by cutting programs that give kids healthy options is not a winning proposition.  This means that even though it would be self serving for his department to get more officers by cutting the arts, library, or parks & rec, Roger understands this is not what is best for the community.

This brings us to his kids.  Roger has 2 sons that served our country in the Middle East.  They are now community service officers in Rochester.  I have never had a citizen complain about either.  Roger played no role in hiring them, is not involved in that process, and in no position to pull any strings.

I received a note from the city administrator, Steven Kvenvold indicating that Roger’s sons will be applying for police office positions. I am glad that they will be applying and a little disappointed but understanding of why this note even had to be sent.

Hiring decisions are made by an independent testing process set by the Police Civil Service Commission.  There is also an interview process that Roger plays no part of.  I believe one of the factors that add to an application is military service so there is a chance that Roger’s sons may be hired as police officers.  If so it is because they were the best candidates based on the independent hiring process and not because their connections.

There are some that felt it would be inappropriate for Roger’s sons to apply for these positions.  I completely disagree.  So long as the process is independent and fair, I want anyone and everyone to apply and I want the best candidates responsible for our public safety.

(I also play no role in the hiring process, except perhaps a vote after candidates are selected).

So on this Veterans Day, I will thank all of our veterans for their service, and welcome them to apply for any position in Rochester regardless of connections or lack thereof.  Regardless of who they are I expect they will be treated fair in my city.

One comment

  1. Having worked with Chief Peterson for many years I wholeheartedly support your comments. I note that Rochester and olmsted county have a rich tradition of family involvement in law enforcement and fire protection. I don’t specifically remember a chief having sons serving before but the sheriff has and there have been several senior officers having sons and other relatives in both departments.

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