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Please keep peace
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Dear Editor:
I am writing about the recent chief suspension. People truly don’t understand what is going on and feel frustrated and confused. I’ve spent many hours gathering information. I’ll try to help clarify the situation.
Imagine, if you will, that you’ve landed your dream job, settled your family in a community they love, and life is good! As department supervisor, your responsibilities include hiring and overseeing qualified employees; regulating schedules so all positions are covered 24/7.
You have one manager above you, and also a board of directors overseeing him. You encounter problems keeping qualified personnel, because other communities offer better pay and benefits. Being understaffed creates extra stress for your people and their families, but all are doing their best, until the situation is resolved.
Your repeated requests for support are denied, AND you’re under orders NOT to speak with board members. In fact, you’re told to give them as little information as possible – even if they ask. Your relationship with your manager deteriorates when you refuse orders that you believe are unethical and dishonest.
You finally speak out – ”dare to disagree” – with your manager. He then tells the board about “problems” in your department, caused by you! You ask to speak to the board – denied! When you finally DO get to speak to them, you give a completely professional report, including much needed details to greatly improve the safety and success of your department. When board members ask, you tell them you were told to remain quiet. One board member says they were led to believe that you’re no longer interested in doing your job. You answer them with – if they were told that – they were lied to! You request pay increases for your employees – but stress that YOU do NOT need a raise!
Your job is on the line. You’re must hire legal council to defend your job. The manager calls an emergency meeting and tells the board you made reckless accusations against him. Suddenly, you’re suspended, forced to go much deeper into legal debt! You’re also facing a deadline to prepare for a hearing to save your job. AND – the very person ordering you to be dishonest, unethical, and possibly breaking the law – steps in to take over your job!
It’s like an awful nightmare, and you’re unable to wake up! WHY??? Because you dared to speak out against unethical and dishonest orders! You spoke to the board, and truly angered him!
How would you feel? What would you do?
THIS is EXACTLY what our Police Chief is living through!!!
Why do I choose to believe Chief Couch – a man with a master’s degree in law enforcement; who served his country with honor in the United States Marine Corps; and whose personal moral standards would not allow him to lie or break the law?
I personally had several issues, dealing with our current city administrator, during my council term, 1998-2000.
I support Chief Couch 100 percent!!!
ONE council member has completely changed his mind, and IS supporting the Chief – I hope and pray others see the injustice being done to this honorable man, and vote to fully reinstate him!! Bullies should NEVER win at school, in the work place, or anywhere else!!
Please, people, be respectful and peaceful – as we work to right this wrong. PLEASE keep the peace during the prayer service, meetings, and any protests. Remain calm, as we show our strong support for reversing this injustice!
It’s time to bring transparency, honesty and integrity back to our city government!!!

Leslie (Halbower) Barrett
Great Bend