PRIVATE FIRM INVESTATIVE REPORT OF POLICE CHIEF RELEASED By Andre Austin Risk Management Associates Inc., (RMA) of NC, hired by the City of Jackson, Michigan to investigate former Police Chief Ervin Portis has just aired out some of our dirty laundry last week. On October 24 RMA presented its 85 pages to City Manager William Ross who in turn released the information out to several local media sources. City tax payers roughly paid out to RMA $10,000 dollars per 10 pages to tell the City of Jackson that there was/is some high level pettiness going on within the Police department and other City departments relationship with the Police department. To be fair I must assert that a hand full of the allegations were serious and should be chalked up as opportunities to learn from our mistakes and move on in a positive direction. For those who can’t afford computers to download the 85 page report I decided to summarize and highlight the highlights of RMA’s report and recommendations. Former Chief Portis was hired in the mid 1990’s to straighten out a semi-chaotic and dysfunctional police department. The style Portis adapted was authoritarian and autocratic which perhaps was needed for a limited period of time until things were smoothen out. Apparently his style became obsolete for the last five years of his job. Chief Portis has a sort of a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality. He appeared one way to the general public and another to his subordinates. Portis created a hostile work environment is clear. Portis failed to practice the basic fundamentals of management of reprimanding individuals privately and praising people publicly. He did just the opposite. His management style was toxic were it castrated the empowerment of the individual officer on his beat. Portis chastised one patrol officer by making him stand facing a corner wall, like a child, reading departmental values from a plaque.Portis sexually harassed a female officer with whom he nicknamed “Hotshot”. Portis tried to get her to go to a out of town business trip so they could “have some fun” and tried to invite her over his house when his own wife was out of town. Portis also berated a police officer out in public. His ranting went on with his talk displeasure for an hour. At times Portis would get so irate that his talk became incoherent to the individuals he was directing his verbal abuse towards. His Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde behavior would switch off to peaceful and cordially when he dealt with the media, business leaders and other prominent citizens. Events started to spiral out of control when Portis was appointed temporary Interim City Manager and Acting head of Community Development. He couldn’t adjust to civilian from non-civilian management style and ruffled the feathers of Mrs. Anita Mure and Police officer Scott Rogers. Anita Mure resigned from the Community Development because she felt miss treated by Portis. Rogers was upset at Portis because he had to resign from the Retirement Board. City Council persons William Mure and Sarah Mure-Mead were upset at Portis mistreatment of their mother Anita Mure. Assistant City Manager Richard Marsh complained to the NAACP he was put under a “stake out” type of surveillance by Portis for a very minor out of state license, plate and tag issue. RMA speculates that Rogers sent anonymous letters to the NAACP accusing Portis of abusing the LEIN system and Police throwing “Skunk-Bombs” in the Black community. All of this was used as a coalition to ring in the autocratic Chief and have him investigated by an outside private firm. Under all of these clouds Portis packed his bags, loaded up and headed West to take another City Managers job. But before Portis left he was able to maneuver an investigation of City Council members William Mure and Sarah Mure-Mead alleged drug use to JNET and Blackman Township police instead of having the Michigan State Police to investigate them to avoid a conflict of interest scenario. However, some of the other allegations of Portis was very petty like: LT’s being able to take home patrol cars, Switching from 12 to 8 hour shifts, not allowing service guns to retirees, Portis naming a K-9 dog “Bella” allegedly after his favorite bar Bella Notte. A serious allegation on Portis was that he had officers “massage” crime statistics which were unfounded and un-sustained. RMA recommended that the police department continue to work on its community relations and communications especially with the minority community an idea that’s given free of charge already by the local NAACP. I believe that in the future the City has to be careful with empowering individuals in civilian and non-civilian positions. A separation of powers must be maintain so that a balance of power can effectively work in the democratic process. Otherwise, personal vendettas, egos and political agendas will brew up into a perfect storm like this one. We paid a lot of money to air our dirty laundry out in the open. Let us learn from our mistakes and allow the healing process to begin.