Yes, Virginia, there is a Sergeant William Vollberg. And while he's too busy to show up at public hearings to investigate his conduct, he apparently DOES have time to write letters to the editor denouncing the ACLU.
In case you missed it, yesterday's Post-Gazette featured a letter from William Vollberg ridiculing the civil-liberties group. The ACLU recently complained to the P-G that on numerous occasions, Pittsburgh police have cited citizens for swearing at police, giving officers the bird, and so on. For this exercise of free-speech rights, the ACLU contends, nearly 200 Pittsburghers have been slapped with charges of disorderly conduct in a period of 20 months.
Vollberg's wrote in to denounce the lawsuit, and the Post-Gazette editorial board -- or, as he puts it, the ACLU's "sycophantic followers on the Post-Gazette editorial board" -- for echoing the ACLU's concerns.
Vollberg contends the law makes being a jerk a criminal offense, should an officer see it that way. "Perhaps your newspaper should interview the residents of our city's neighborhoods and ask them if they appreciate our efforts in maintaining civility on our city's streets," his letter concludes.
Hearing Vollberg trumpet the cause of civility is a nice bit of irony. See, although Vollberg's letter didn't mention it, and the Post-Gazette didn't note it, Vollberg's own public conduct has been sharply questioned. Last August, antiwar demonstrators complained that Vollberg assaulted a protester at a Shadyside demonstration.
Vollberg then blew off not one but two subpoeans issued by the city's Citizen Police Review Board, which is charged with looking into complaints of miscondcut. As he told City Paper at the time, Vollberg "was working. I answer to the taxpayers."
Nice to see the taxpayers give Vollberg enough time off that he can compose rants for the daily paper. Let's hope he has time to send a nice note of apology to the taxpayers for blowing off their review board. And I hope he uses only clean language in it -- I'd hate to have to send a cop over to charge him for dirty words.
I love Mel Packer!