When Indianapolis leaders lured Frank Straub from New York to become public safety director, one of the things he said he was expected to do was to hold police accountable. The Indianapolis Star says recent weeks have given Straub ample opportunity to do just that — perhaps too much opportunity. With incidents of police misconduct piling up, Straub is facing criticism, including calls for his firing, on two fronts. Some, including a city councilman and a group of pastors, want to hold him personally accountable for the sheer number of incidents and how he’s handled them. Others, including the police officers’ union, think his public comments have shown disrespect for the department.
“Sometimes you can’t win,” said Straub, who came from the White Plains, N.Y., Public Safety Department in January. “I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t believe in this police department. I’ve been in this business 27 years, so nothing surprises me.” What has shocked the community is the frequency and egregiousness of recent allegations against Indianapolis police officers. One officer was accused of excessive force in the beating of a biracial teenager. Another officer was accused of setting a series of fires. And yet another was accused of firing his gun inside his patrol car during a fight with a girlfriend.