McManus wants justice, propriety

Minneapolis cannot afford to let allegations of wrongdoing go uninvestigated.

Minneapolis police Chief Bill McManus is proving himself to be truly serious about holding his department to ethical standards.

When McManus was sworn in more than two weeks ago, he promised to demand nothing but professionalism and competence from his officers. Last week McManus put three high-ranking officers on paid leave, pending a Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension inquiry regarding the investigation of former Minneapolis police officer Duy Ngo’s shooting last year.

McManus’ actions are necessary and routine. The three suspended officers are being investigated for improperly handling a case and its associated documentation. Placing people on leave for possible criminal activity is a common practice, and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak rightly supports McManus’ decision.

If the Minneapolis Police Department expects to maintain justice in the community, it must maintain justice within its own organization. Minneapolis cannot afford to let allegations of wrongdoing go uninvestigated. Employing good, honest police officers must be a priority if the city’s residents value public safety. Residents and lawmakers must trust McManus’ judgment and that he would not unnecessarily put officers’ reputations in jeopardy.

Delicate situations, such as the Ngo case, require accurate investigations and documentation. McManus has made his decisions in the public eye, opening himself up for much criticism for acting too harshly against officials who even Ngo considers friends. But McManus should be commended for acting with authority and decisiveness.

If the allegations are unfounded, the officers’ reputations will be restored. But officers must be held accountable for their actions – and sometimes their inactions – and it is better that McManus take measures to do that now than wait until wrongdoing or corruption become impossible to correct.

Minneapolis can expect good things from its new police chief. It is clear he is trying to act in the best interests of the city, its residents and the department.