Today's Paper Latest Coronavirus The Article iPad Core Values Weather Newsletters Obits Puzzles Archive Story ideas

OPINION | EDITORIAL: Fire or not, don't OK officer's actions

November 24, 2021 at 3:00 a.m.

Christopher Sweeny has an uphill battle to keep his job -- as well he should.

He is the Pine Bluff Police Department detective who went out to Saracen Casino and conducted himself in a manner not in line with what we would guess would be most people's idea of how a police officer should act.

For the sordid details, we refer you to a story in The Commercial that was published this past Sunday.

He was fired over the incident, and the story was about his appeal to reverse that decision. To make that appeal, he met before a three-person panel for almost an hour, during which he was questioned by Dominique Lane, assistant city attorney.

We opine routinely in this space about what people and agencies should and shouldn't do, but we will leave this matter to the panel. Those members likely are privy to information that the general public does not have, and we believe they will make the right decision.

For our part, we would certainly not second guess a decision to uphold his termination. If a bank president did what he did. Gone. If a vice president or department manager or teacher or an accountant did what he did. Gone.

Basically, if anyone of any responsibility or standing did what he did, we can't imagine them continuing to hold their job.

The thinking is that if the person has such little control over their actions and such poor judgment as to take such action, they have no business holding jobs that, in and of themselves, require people to have trust in them as upstanding individuals in all facets of their lives.

And without a doubt, a police detective falls into this category.

His explanation was that he'd worked a lot and was out having a good time. That sounds similar to how a lot of people roll, except that most people don't drink too much, as he said he did, and do what he said he did.

Again, it's an example of bad judgment.

Sweeny apologized, but he didn't come across as very convincing at times.

"And you believe this behavior is inappropriate for an officer?" Lane asked.

"No, it's not," Sweeny answered.

Lane clarified her question to ask if what he did was appropriate.

"No, it's not," Sweeny answered.

That does not sound like someone throwing themselves at the mercy of the court but rather someone who was carefully picking his words in order to save his job.

One also has to take into consideration the feelings of Lloyd Franklin Sr., the interim chief of police. In short, he wants Sweeny off the force, asking the panel not to make what Sweeny did "acceptable behavior." We certainly get that.

If the panel relents and does allow Sweeny to keep his job, the panel should make his path back to work difficult.

A demotion in rank, a cut in pay, a lengthy probation, classes that would address drinking and respect for women, lots and lots of public service hours -- all of those should be on the table.

The message, one way or the other, should be that this behavior is absolutely not acceptable. We think everyone can agree on that.

Print Headline: Fire or not, don'tOK officer's actions


Sponsor Content