Chief must end scandal and go


Portland Police Chief Derrick Foxworth, who last week admitted to having an intense sexual relationship six years ago with a police department desk clerk, should resign immediately.

This personal relationship, complete with pornographic e-mails, has placed the city at risk of a lawsuit for permitting sexual discrimination and unlawful work practices. Foxworth's conduct and poor personal choices embarrass the city, the police department, the office of police chief and the entire community. His past actions seriously undermine any ongoing or future trust in his professional and personal ability to make the right choices as police chief.

If Foxworth chooses not to resign, Mayor Tom Potter should terminate him.

At the least, the mayor should immediately place Foxworth on paid administrative leave and initiate an outside investigation by police and human resources departments from another major metropolitan city. But at this time, Potter says he is confident that the city's own human resources bureau can conduct a complete and impartial investigation from which he then will decide a course of action. For one, Potter says the city cannot afford to farm out every investigation it must undertake.

While the mayor says he is confident about an internal investigation, we are not. While the mayor may be willing to save a few dollars, we are not.

Too much is at stake for Portland City Hall, a city government whose reputation already is challenged by many other difficult policy and financial matters. Too much also is at stake to not fully ensure that the integrity and perception of Portland's chief of police meet professional, personal and moral standards that are above reproach and reflect the values and moral standards of this community.

We believe that Foxworth has unconvincingly explained away this relationship as a private, personal matter involving a police department employee whom he did not supervise. He says times are different now and that the relationship occurred years before he became chief. He says that he never breached confidential police secrets with his lover and communicated with her only by using his own personal phone, pager and e-mail. Wow Ñ as if all of that makes any difference.

And in the past few days, while apologizing to fellow police officers for creating a distraction, Foxworth has asked the community to support the police department in its efforts to serve the community.

The best way that can happen is by Foxworth holding himself accountable and resigning. The second is for Potter to hold Foxworth accountable É and terminate him. Only then, can the city, the police department and the community move forward.

Since the matter of this sexual relationship has been made public, some have said that criticism of Foxworth, who is black, is racially motivated. But we don't think this matter has anything to with race. It is really not about gender. Some have said it's about an adult, consensual relationship, but one look at the uncensored e-mails floating around cyberspace reveals the disgusting and embarrassing manner in which Foxworth conducted himself.

A resignation is all about doing the right thing, such as making the right professional and personal choices, earning and retaining respect, properly representing your community and your peers, and accepting responsibility for your own behavior.

That's why Derrick Foxworth should immediately resign or be fired.