Rich James: Snyder campaign floats possible paths to replace top cop
November 3, 2011 6:58PM
Updated: December 6, 2011 8:04AM
It’s time for Jim Snyder to man-up.
Snyder is the Republican candidate for Portage mayor.
And he and his followers are becoming more obsessed with Portage Police Chief Mark Becker by the day.
A month or so ago, I wrote that Becker — who retired from the FBI to take the chief’s job in Portage — would be ousted if Snyder won the mayor’s race.
I went on to say that it would be a shame because Becker has more law enforcement knowledge than any chief in Northwest Indiana — perhaps even the entire state.
Becker, quite simply, is that good at what he does, except for the fact he is a Green Bay Packers fan.
Snyder had a fit, saying he had never said he would fire Becker if elected mayor.
Well, then, I said, if that is the case, tell me that you will keep Becker as your chief if elected mayor.
Nope, can’t do that, Snyder said.
So that means you are going to fire him, I said.
Nope, it doesn’t mean that at all, Snyder roared back.
If you won’t say that you will fire Becker and you won’t say that you will keep him, then how are you going to select a police chief, I asked.
By committee, Snyder said.
By committee, I wondered to myself. Just what Portage needs is a butcher, a baker and a candlestick maker picking the city’s police chief.
OK, so there will be one former law enforcement guy on the committee.
Then it made me think about that sign that read, “God so loved the world that he didn’t send a committee.”
Anyway, Snyder reiterated the fact that he thought I was a fairly despicable person because I said he would fire Becker, and he said he hadn’t said that. But yet, he couldn’t say he would keep him either.
Then Snyder said something that almost tipped his hand.
He said there are rumors that Becker is going to run for Porter County sheriff and that he would have to start campaigning for that at the first of this coming year.
The point being that he’d be campaigning almost full-time and wouldn’t be much of a police chief.
I don’t know if Snyder made that up or someone whispered in his ear.
The point is that he was off by a couple of years. Porter County won’t elect a new sheriff until 2014, with the winner taking office in 2015.
But, what the heck, there’s no sense in letting the facts get in the way.
But now the worm has turned.
Now the Snyder supporters are the ones saying their candidate never has said he would oust Becker.
Some of those Snyder folks are writing letters and telling anyone who will listen that he won’t fire Becker.
Nope, he won’t have to. What the backers now are saying is that Snyder has said the police chief will have to be a resident of Portage.
I guess the thinking is that if you don’t wake up in Portage you wouldn’t have a clue about Portage crime, or how to go about fighting it.
I guess that means burglaries in Portage are totally different from, say, burglaries in Chesterton.
And, I guess it doesn’t matter that the chief doesn’t have the best crime-fighting mind available, as long as he or she lives in Portage.
There’s no light at the end of that tunnel.
You’ve probably figured it out by now. Becker doesn’t live in Portage.
Apparently that hasn’t been a handicap over the last four years.
Just admit you don’t want Becker as police chief.
It’s really not that hard to say.
And if Mayor Olga Velazquez is re-elected, Snyder won’t have to say anything.
Rich James’ column appears on Friday.