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News - Should Police Chief Beverly Harvard get the heave-ho?

No. The very fact that Beverly Harvard has managed to remain free from the taint of felony corruption allegations should at least get her a chance to interview for her own job.

I've generally believed that I could never make a case in defense of Atlanta Police Chief Beverly Harvard. As a key official in the corrupt administration of Mayor Bill Campbell, the lady isn't well regarded in the police community — or the civilian community, for that matter. But after giving it some thought, I feel that it's only fair to consider that Chief Harvard hasn't been indicted, and as far as anybody can tell, she's not under investigation by the FBI. And in Mayor Campbell's corrupt administration, not being indicted actually says a lot for a person.

Of course, some judgmental and hopelessly idealistic people would say that public officials should set an exemplary standard of conduct, and should not only remain above ethical reproach, but should be top-notch managers and administrators. But by the standards of today's City Hall, not getting indicted is something of a badge of personal integrity. The very fact that Beverly Harvard has managed to remain free from the taint of felony corruption allegations should at least get her a chance to interview for her own job.

Oh, I know the arguments in favor of summarily dumping Chief Harvard. She's not an effective administrator, and she's not really well known as a street cop, and she's not very popular — but considering that she escaped the Campbell years without ever having to hire a criminal lawyer, she should at least get a fair hearing on her merits.

When one considers that the chief has served in perhaps the most corrupt mayoral administration in Atlanta history, Beverly Harvard is likely to emerge as an uncontroversial player in the grand scheme of city government, notwithstanding her faults. Local media outlets have ignored her for the last several years as they salivated over the impending flow of indictments from the U.S. Attorney's Office. Now that the trickle of True Bills has become a flood that threatens to send Mayor Campbell up the river, Chief Harvard's tenure has become something of a muddy haze, hallmarked mainly by the presumption that she's apparently not been a member of Bill Campbell's City Hall Gangster Posse.

So, a good case can be made that if the lady isn't under investigation, and hasn't been indicted, Shirley Franklin should consider keeping Harvard around, at least until the real crooks can be herded into the feds' paddy wagons.

Let's be fair, folks. As a manager, Bill Campbell hasn't gotten much out of anyone, except maybe city contractors. The outgoing mayor is mostly responsible for the failure to maintain a decent police force in this town.

No matter who has the job, the Atlanta police chief can do only so much when the mayor is preoccupied with formulating a criminal defense strategy.

Jeff Berry has never been indicted, as far as he knows. ??





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