A Changing Of The Guard
By Rodger Digilio
Alexandria’s Chief of Police David P. Baker resigned last week a few days after his arrest in Arlington on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol. It was an unfortunate end to a fine professional career. By resigning, Chief Baker spared the City divisive controversy. We saw enough of that over our former Superintendent of Schools, Rebecca L. Perry. We did not need to repeat it again.
Chief Baker was approachable and well liked by many of Alexandria’s citizens. He supported innovation in the department. His departure has produced an outpouring of support. You can read some of this in the letters section of alexandrianews.org.
When a public official commits a grave error in judgment there must be consequences. The police chief is on the front line of law enforcement in the City. His success is based largely upon the moral authority that he has over his own officers and the citizens. His arrest and the details that have emerged from it severely undermined that authority.
In the past several decades we in the United States seem to have moved away from personal responsibility for our mistakes, and in many cases, even respect for the law. It was refreshing to observe Chief Baker’s integrity and sense of honor in following the course he had to take.
Alexandria is fortunate to have such a capable acting chief in Earl Cook. Chief Cook’s roots are right here: he grew up in Alexandria and graduated from T.C. Williams High School. He has always had the best interest of our community at heart. We look forward to his leadership in the months ahead and are confident that the Police Department will continue to provide outstanding protection for and service to our citizens.