The MPD's gaydar detector dilemma: Part 2
Last week, the Illinois Family Institute responded with outrage to the claim that psychologist Michael Campion, a former board member at the conservative organization, had been "re-suspended" by the Minneapolis Police Department. In fact, Campion, who has worked for the MPD screening prospective hires, was suspended in August by Police Chief Tim Dolan. As reported in City Pages previously, that suspension stemmed from an inquiry into Campion's evidently unconventional views on homosexuality and whether said views effected his professional performance. In the conservative blogosphere, of course, the suspension served as prima fascia evidence of the rampant, anti-Christian bias of the Godless liberals who rule the world.
Still, from the IFI's perspective, you might have thought the dustup would have been settled when Dolan informed the City Council in writing that he was lifting Campion's suspension. The rationale for that decision? Dolan was unable to find evidence that Campion, whatever his personal views, had treated prospective gay officers unfairly.
So it came as something of a surprise to the MPD when the IFI issued a release last weekend decrying Campion's so-called "re-suspension." According to IFI statement:
Campion was told Tuesday that he was again suspended from his work from his contract work screening police officers. His case has attracted nationwide attention from Christians and civil liberties advocates who see his suspension as evidence of blatant anti-Christian discrimination.
After being reinstated following his widely reported suspension, Campion said he was scheduled to do a "big batch of testing" of Minneapolis police officers. Then the Department did a 180-degree turn and called to tell him that he will not be doing the testing after all
According to MPD spokesman Lt. Greg Reinhardt, the IFI could not have been more wrong. In a posting on the Minneapolis Issues list, Reinhardt clarified Campion's current status with the MPD:
Dr. Michael Campion has not been re-suspended. That is spin from the IFI. It was made very clear to them and others that there was no re-suspension. The following information was provided to them:
MPD currently does not have a contract with any vendor providing pre-employment screening or fitness for duty services. Chief Dolan has started an immediate process to develop an RFP (Request for Proposal) to contact all further such services.
So on the subject of the "re-suspension," the IFI appears to be guilty of major distortion--or, as Reinhardt more gently put it, "spin."
That said, it does seems reasonably likely that Campion and his firm, Campion, Barrow & Associates, probably won't wind up with the MPD's contract. There are two reasons for this: One, Minneapolis enjoys a reputation for relatively progressive attitudes toward the GLBT community, so there's no political gain in contracting with a shrink who has not only affiliated himself with the "pray it away" types but has also published an article about curing homosexuality through Christian love; Two, all the controversy seems to have put Campion in litigious frame of mind. According to the Illinois Times reporter Dusty Rhodes, Campion is currently suing the city of Springfield of Illinois, which--out of bias concerns--has discontinued the use of his firm's services.