No favors, please

July 17, 2008

Feel free to insert your own doughnut joke:

A police lieutenant in Daytona Beach was fired over accusations that he threatened slower emergency response times if he was not given complimentary specialty Starbucks coffee drinks.

An internal police investigation found that Daytona Lt. Major Garvin received free coffee for about two years from a city Starbucks coffee store.

However, when recently denied free coffee from new management, Garvin allegedly told managers that he could change the police department’s response time if they refuse to give him complimentary drinks.


Garvin is accused of saying, “If something happens, either we can respond really fast or we could respond really slow. I’ve been coming here for years and I’ve been getting whatever I want. I’m the difference between you getting a two-minute response time, if you needed a little help, or a 15 minutes response time.”

Policies against accepting favors can seem awfully petty sometimes.  Such policies at newspapers can be as rigid as the ones on police departments, and I’ve heard a lot of reporters grumble about them over the years. What’s the problem with letting someone pay for you meal, for Pete’s sake, or buying you a drink? The problem (other than the appearance of impropriety, which can be as deadly as the real thing) is that, in the absence of a blanket policy, someone has to figure out where the line is — when inconsequential niceties turn into attempts to curry favor. And while that’s being studied, there will some like this officer who have decided that they are owed the favors.


2 Responses to “No favors, please”

  1. MichaelK Says:

    Bad enough to try and scam free coffee, but man, he could have at least tried to get *good* coffee.

  2. Bob G. Says:

    And to think we used to call something like that…EXTORTION.
    (pass the sugar-hold the taser)


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