Gov. Ted Strickland sent a strong message Tuesday: Racism will not be tolerated in the ranks of the Ohio State Patrol. It's a message we hope is heard loud and clear in every police department and every sheriff's office across the state.
Strickland ordered his public safety director to begin proceedings to immediately terminate Sgt. Eric E. Wlodarsky and Trooper Craig Franklin for what he called "disgraceful conduct."
Franklin posed for a photo wearing a makes-shift Ku Klux Klan costume over his uniform while on duty at the Sandusky Post of the Highway Patrol. Wlodarsky snapped the photo and sent it via a cell phone to another state trooper.
It was all a joke, they said. A joke that turned out likely costing Wlodarsky and Franklin their jobs, and rightly so.
Police officers must adhere to a higher standard and these two fell far short of that bar. Strickland's order to terminate was right, and the message it sends needs to be heard loud and clear by every police officer and especially those who operate on the same lower level where Wlodarsky and Franklin played out their joke.