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"I encourage those who have yet to decide for whom to vote for safety to consider Tim. "

Tim Coll for Public Safety Commissioner


"Ironically, the dearth of city council candidates this election cycle cannot be attributed to the public’s satisfaction with the policies and performance of the incumbents, but rather the reluctance of good people to enter the fray.

Among the very few with the temerity to oppose an incumbent this year is Tim Coll, candidate for commissioner of public safety. I encourage those who have yet to decide for whom to vote for safety to consider Tim.  


Public safety is just flat out hard and unforgiving. The best candidates for the job are possessed of an even temperament and self-discipline. Tim Coll has those qualities. As a retired FBI special agent he is also a practitioner of safety services and a proponent of designing and delivering those services consistent with the needs and expectations of entire community. This is no mean feat.


The current council has created a climate marked by recrimination, expletive-laced shouting matches, costly inter-municipal disputes, the dissemination of false information and open hostility between members and, too often, the public.  


Council meetings have become an embarrassment. The presiding officer has frequently been unable to maintain regular order and, in at least one case, a public comment period devolved into near violence. Meetings have been forced into premature adjourned and public business deferred until order is restored.


Some community members are uncomfortable or even fearful of attending meetings or addressing the council lest they be intimidated, shouted down or harangued. Such meetings are not truly ‘public’ if citizens are denied safe and secure access to their city government or intimidated by a council member or others in attendance.


The City Charter is clear: “Members of the public shall be scheduled to speak at Council meetings at times and in such manner as the Council shall establish. Time shall be allotted at every Council meeting for the public to speak.”


Implicit in this mandate is the obligation of the council and its presider to maintain a meeting environment that not only allows the public to speak, but encourages residents to do so. That environment does not now exist.


It has become self evident that the internecine conflict between the public safety commissioner and the executive is primarily responsible for the toxicity in city hall.  


Among the stated purposes of the City Charter is this: “Encourage opportunities for cooperation, and reduce potential for conflict among City offices and between the City and other governmental entities.”  This is not simply pious fluff. It was incorporated into the Charter as a reminder that overt conflict and hostility results in a breakdown of government and the inability to address real public needs.

No where is this more manifest than in public safety. Everywhere policing is under stress. The department currently stands accused of actions resulting in a wrongful death and, in some quarters and by some interests, of bias. This council and this public safety commissioner do not seem to understand how such allegations, even if totally unfounded, compromise all of us.  


Robert Peel, the British Prime Minister who established the modern London Metropolitan Police, identified nine principles of  “ethical” policing, including this:


“To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.”


Let’s start anew to restore dignity to the operation of city hall, assure trust and confidence in all safety services and be mindful that, in Peel’s model, we are all responsible for the welfare of the community.  I think that Tim Coll is up to the job."


Lew Benton

Comm. of Public safety, 1988 - 1995

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