For the briefest moment the other day, there was encouraging news: Mayor Dan Sullivan was hiring an independent agency to look at the Anchorage Police Department in the wake of the nightmarish Anthony Rollins case.
It is long overdue, I thought. Rollins sexually assaulted several women while on the job as a cop from 2006 to 2009 and the city is dealing with the wreckage, facing millions in payments to his victims. The concerns were, and are: Why, and how, did Rollins remain on the force as long as he did when there were so many red flags, so many instances when somebody could have, should have, acted?
The idea behind the city's $30,000 contract for an independent assessment by the International Association of Chiefs of Police is to regain public trust, Sullivan said. That's swell, but the cynic in me is guessing for 30Gs the city will get a quick look into a filing cabinet, a cup of coffee and the IACP's imprimatur to get the public off its back. You can almost hear it: "Hey, we got IACP approval and everything is A-OK."
I agree with the Anchorage Daily News, which opined the investigation, to be of any use, must be "thorough and fearless" -- to which I would add emphatically, "and by another agency, one with more regard for individual rights and the Constitution."
That's right. Anchorage would do better to spend its taxpayers' money with another organization. The one the city has chosen will do nothing to kindle trust.
Formed in Chicago in 1893, the IACP says it is the largest, oldest nonprofit membership organization of police executives in the world, with more than 20,000 members in more than 100 countries. It has expertise in policy, training, procedure, research and management. It is good at what it does. If it stopped there, nobody would complain.
The problem? It also is a foaming-at-the-mouth, anti-gun organization that has consultative status with the United Nations and opposes things such as .50-caliber rifles, private sales of guns, expansion of concealed carry, gun shows, handguns, so-called "assault" weapons and virtually anything else a virulent anti-gun group would oppose.
It gives the Second Amendment short shrift and is fond of de facto gun registration, five-day waiting periods and immediate, mandatory destruction of any firearm that falls into police hands. It supports invasive, mandatory local laws concerning gun storage. Really, what's not to like?
The IACP does not much like cops, either. It fought against the commonsense Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act of 2004, legislation authorizing active and retired cops to carry firearms outside of their jurisdiction. Congress, to its everlasting credit, passed it anyway.
Worse, the IACP has lousy friends. It has received bushels of cash from the billion-dollar, leftist Joyce Foundation, based in Chicago, and has "partnered" with the foundation, lending its name to give the appearance of legitimacy to anti-gun schemes.
Joyce, while underwriting countless far-left groups -- everything from the Environmental Defense Fund to Media Matters -- creates "grass-roots" anti-gun organizations out of whole cloth -- and its checkbook. Joyce hands out tens of millions to them, including everything from the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City to the Violence Policy Center, arguably the worst of the anti-gun ninnies.
Joyce probably has done more to undermine Second Amendment constitutional principles in this nation than any other single organization -- if you do not count Congress.
President Barack Obama -- who swears he supports gun rights although he has said he does not -- served on the Joyce Foundation's board from 1994 to 2002, when contributions to anti-gun organization skyrocketed. During his tenure, the foundation even tried to subvert the Supreme Court on Second Amendment questions.
It did so by trying to hand large grants to major universities in hopes of encouraging (read: buying) law review support of the Joyce Foundation's ideology. It was hoped those review articles would be read as Second Amendment legal scholarship by a U.S. Supreme Court searching for, but not finding, precedents. The effort, unfortunately, was successful.
Given its pals and history, why do business with the IACP? Even if the Anchorage Police Department gets a clean bill of health, who would believe it? The mayor would do well to choose another outside organization -- one that respects the Second Amendment and individual rights.
Hiring this bunch would just be wrong.
Paul Jenkins is editor of the AnchorageDailyPlanet.com.