When Christopher Dorner unleashed the biggest manhunt in Southern California in years, the authorities called on citizens to cooperate, sweetening the pot with a million-dollar reward. Now that the former police officer is dead and no longer poses a danger, some are hiding behind a technicality to avoid providing their promised part of the reward.
The city of Riverside and the Peace Officers Research Association of California, a police union, decided not to contribute the $100,000 and $60,000 they respectively promisedbecause Dorner committed suicide before he could be arrested and his “arrest and conviction,” which the reward stipulated, did not happen. They are right, and it is very possible that this happens more often than we know.
However, applying this principle now to save money leaves a feeling of having been deceived that will be detrimental the next time the authorities ask the public for help and offer a reward. This deteriorates the trust of citizens.
Therefore, it is unacceptable that a city like Riverside, which saw one of its officers murdered by Dorner, is withdrawing its pledge. The same goes for this police union, since Dorner targeted law enforcement officers.
In both cases, the organizations seem to have forgotten how urgent it was to capture Dorner and how dangerous he was. This gave way to a focus on saving moneysomething that in addition to projecting an image of stinginess, harms their credibility. They should consider the impact of this decision as fervently as they look for technicalities to go back on their word.
The only bright side in all this is that both Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck are committed to the reward being paid out. They have said the amount won’t change despite the decisions made by organizations that now decided not to contribute.
They both understand the importance placed on the Dorner case. They know that now, it is more valuable to maintain the public’s trust than to focus on technicalities, and to pay those who need to be paid.