Murphy, Henley Should Let It Go


How many creative ways can a mayor and a councilman try to get rid of a police chief? In Payson, there are more avenues than one thought possible.

Whether it's changing personnel procedures, executive sessions, private arm-twisting -- even an external audit in the town's corporate strategic plan -- Murphy and Henley have now tried just about everything except a military coup. Yet their ongoing failure seems only to further their resolve.

Get over it and get back to town business. Spending $100,000 of the town's money to investigate the department is money best spent elsewhere, such as town employee payroll or finding water.

Internal housekeeping is always a good idea, especially in occupations that can attract the power- hungry. There have been complaints about perceived Gestapo-like behavior during traffic stops by some police officers, and over-zealous monitoring of local taverns, but nothing that merits this level of incessant hounding. This is not New Orleans or Los Angeles -- our officers are not "on the take" or in bed with the mob. Some may just have too much testosterone or get a rise out of intimidation.

The council gave Town Manager Fred Carpenter the authority to oversee the police department and the majority applaud his efforts to work with the chief in improving the department. Carpenter has taken steps to remedy some of the issues that are of concern to residents. We agree with the five councilors who have said, "let the town manager do his job."

Both Murphy and Henley keep saying, "this is not a witch hunt!" But after months of this, it's beginning to look and quack like a duck.

Refusing to take "no" for an answer, Henley and Murphy met with Carpenter Wednesday to, again, lobby their cause. It appears Carpenter stood his ground. When asked about the meeting, Carpenter told the Roundup that it may result in some study sessions about police department policy and procedure, but an investigation was not eminent -- "absolutely not," he said.

These two public officials have the intellect to do an effective job for the town, but not when they are sidetracked by their obsession with the police chief. They are using their brain power in a destructive way. It's time to choose a more productive compulsion ... shake it off and move on.

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