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Voice: Mayor Johnson trying to settle old scores with Graham

October 27, 2001

We recently read in this paper the disparaging remarks you, Mayor Wayne Johnson, made about acting Brawley Police Chief Henry Graham and his administration. How would you know about this administration, being that you were asleep the last eight years of your police career?

We know exactly why you do not like Chief Graham. We also recall statements you made, while a police sergeant, in briefings to your subordinates stating you would not "back them up" so they had better not get into physical confrontations while protecting Brawley's citizens. We remember how you sat as "acting lieutenant" and did little but cash a paycheck. Or the time you admitted to allowing that suspect to get away who had just shattered a cop's nose.

It's not surprising then, that law enforcement was not supportive of your City Council campaign. The ones who were closest to you knew better.

It's sad that we have to bring out all this dirty laundry, Mr. Mayor, but as a public official you have no right to voice your personal, vindictive spew regarding an employee who has been loyal, almost to a fault, to the city of Brawley. Personnel matters should be left in closed session where they belong.


You and Mr. Benson publicly mentioned that the contract dispute between the city and the Police Department had something to do with our two acting chiefs. The dispute was kept from getting out of control because of our administration, not in spite of it.

It was the council that failed to see the big picture, despite the numerous written and verbal reports from both top administrators detailing the status of operations and morale within the agency. To imply a lack of communication from the chief's office to the council in some way led to or prolonged this dispute is simply ludicrous. The fact the City Council violated the law while negotiating, and the subsequent lawsuit that took time to be settled, (in favor of the cops) had mostly to do with the lengthy dispute.

The fact public safety was not the highest priority for some council members and the public disdain some council members portrayed for this city's police had much to do with this dispute. Sometimes a "mutiny," as you call it, is essential to bring to the surface the disservice self-serving politicians do to the people they are supposed to be serving.

Henry Graham and Bob Kuhn remained objective during those troubled times and kept the ship afloat. Not to mention that hundreds of thousands of dollars have come into this department through grants Henry Graham has personally struggled to obtain. Under Henry Graham and Bob Kuhn, we have upgraded equipment, hired new employees, established a state-of-the-art dispatch center, put computers in patrol cars, established a very successful Police Activities League, created an Explorer post, created COMBAT, funded new police officer positions through state and federal grants, put Brawley cops back into countywide narcotics enforcement task forces, maintained a partnership with the schools while providing bicycle patrol during peak school hours, drastically reduced crime as well as provided solid leadership and guidance through times of trouble, created by you, not them.

Let's be honest, Mr. Mayor, you have a personal issue with Chief Graham. You don't like him, and that's OK. I doubt anybody expects you will remain objective and do what's right for the city. Let's just hope the other council members see through your warped pursuit of vindication and hire a police chief who knows the public safety needs of Brawley and has, unlike you, been loyal to his city and his staff. Henry Graham is that person.



Brawley Police Department

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