The Grand Rapids Press reports that Kent County Sheriff Larry Stelma has put fired deputy Michael Tanis back on the payroll. Tanis, the son of Kent County Commissioner Art Tanis, was booted by Stelma back in April because the sheriff determined that he had made false statements concerning an arrest in which he pepper-sprayed a suspect. Apparently Kent County prosecutor William Forsythe found Tanis to be so lacking in credibility that he could not use the deputy as a witness at trial. Compromised by his dishonesty, Stelma fired Tanis.
So Tanis's union went to bat for him and brought the firing to an arbitrator. Last week the arbitrator ruled that Tanis should be reinstated with his seniority intact, but no back pay. It seems integrity was dead letter for the arbitrator, and now for Stelma too because he agreed to take Tanis back instead of appealing the ruling. Meanwhile, the public who is paying for all of this is stuck with a deputy who can make arrests but the prosecutor can't use as a witness, because every defense lawyer with a clue can now challenge Tanis's credibility.
Well, folks, since when did you believe that "protect and serve" meant you?