Police Chief Fired For Sending Officers To Assist In Funeral Of Deceased Officer
The former police chief of Delgado Community College (LA), Julie Lea, has defended the actions that got her fired on January 30th, stating in an email that her assignment of two school officers to a private funeral detail in January was “a common law enforcement courtesy and practice.”
Lea assigned two on-duty Delgado officers to assist in the funeral services for deceased Xavier University Police Chief Duane Carkum. The move left Delgado shorthanded and violated state community college code-of-conduct policy, according to the school’s spokesman, Tony Cook.
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In an email, Lea wrote that the two officers were sent at the request of Carkum’s family to make sure two of the family’s houses were not burglarized or vandalized during the funeral.
“This is a common law enforcement courtesy and practice that is done everyday, since the names and addresses of police family members are made public during these times,” she wrote. “Ensuring the homes are not burglarized or vandalized is the reason.”
“Delgado did not agree with my decision and chose to end my employment,” she continued.
In a statement issued Monday, Cook noted that Delgado officers are state employees. Assigning the two officers to an on-duty private assignment, Cook said, marked an “inappropriate use of state resources” meriting Lea’s firing.
Leaving the police force two-officers understaffed that day, Cook said, further compromised the safety of the college’s City Park campus.
“This type of behavior is unacceptable, particularly for a member of the College’s administrative staff, and it is incompatible with the mission and values of the College,” Cook said in his statement. “Delgado Community College takes seriously its responsibility to provide and maintain a safe environment for all persons engaged in activities on our campuses, and to use state resources appropriately and effectively.”