Speaking of volunteer pension board members, our newest board member is our city’s new Ethics Czar, Jo Anne SawyerKnoll. I don’t know Jo Anne very well, but I do respect her for the job for which she has been tasked.

It’s not going to be easy being the new chief of the Office of Ethics and Integrity. It has to be hard teaching ethics to people. Mostly, because people don’t believe they need ethics training – they believe the other guy needs it.

When you’ve been a cop as long as I have, (24 years and counting) you see just about everything – at least once. I can tell you this – if asked, most crooks would say they’re basically ethical people. I’m not kidding, they really do believe it. I believe it’s because most crooks believe they’re good people and can usually justify why they did the crime. It’s kind of a strange cross between their bizarre sense of morality and how “the ends justifying the means.”

I remember a few years back our police department lost its ethics instructor when he decided to travel to Los Angeles to meet an underage teenage girl (purportedly for sex). He justified his action by stating his intent in driving 100 miles was to counsel her about the dangers of meeting strangers on the Internet. I guess he wanted to show her what a pervert looked like in person.

Unfortunately for him, the only people he met were undercover LAPD officers. I wonder how Immanuel Kant would have ruled that one?

Anyway, I hope Joanne has better luck teaching ethics in San Diego than the governor of Illinois did with their ethics program. I recently read the Illinois governor was outraged last week when he learned that thousands of state’s 58,000 employees cheated on their ethics training test.

MARK SULLIVAN

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