Thursday, February 23, 2012

Minority High Ranking Officer To Become The Next Racine Police Chief

The next Racine Police Chief could either be a Hispanic or an Afro-American.

By H. Nelson Goodson
February 23, 2012

Racine - On Wednesday, the Fire and Police Commission decided to continue with the process of selecting the next police chief. The five-member Commission drew protests and accusations of racism when it decided last Monday to reopen the search for a new chief after two minority candidates were left as alternatives to replace the chief. The search for a new chief began in November and has cost the city at least $23,000, according to city officials.
Community members, several non-profit organizations, the NCAAP and the Racine Police Association cried foul and accused the Commission of discrimination for trying to search for a White candidate after two minority candidates were left to compete for the job.
The two minority candidates were left out of 11 candidates who applied for the chief position. They were identified as an Hispanic, Lt. Carlos Lopez and the other Afro-American, Deputy Chief Art Howell. Both Lopez and Howell are well qualified for the position and are high ranking veteran officers in the Racine Police Department.
The Commission was force to reverse their decision by pressure from Racine Mayor John Dickert, the city attorney and other city officials, including aldermen. The Commission will now have to pick either Lopez or Howell to replace retired Chief Kurt Wahlen.

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