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Editorial: Looking like a bully is never good, Fairfax leaders

Recent dustup between police chiefs another indication Fairfax likes to throw its weight around

Sometimes topics for editorials come so easily, we should be paying our employers rather than the other way around. You just sit at your desk in anticipation that stupidity will come your way. The wait is seldom long.

As was the case that generated an editorial on another topic that ran last week, today’s eye-roll moment emanates from leadership of the Fairfax County Police Department.

This time, it is a dustup between the Fairfax police and their counterparts in the town of Herndon. Or, more specifically, between the two localities’ police chiefs.

If we’ve got the story right (and there seem to be a few parts where the facts are disputed), the head of the Fairfax County Criminal-Justice Academy for the past year had for some reason had taken it upon himself to sign graduation certificates for new officers in his native Chinese. Your guess is as good as ours why nobody up the chain of command sent down word this wasn’t really necessary.

Noticing this oddity at the most recent graduation, Herndon’s police chief (Maggie DeBoard) seems to have asked Fairfax’s chief (Kevin Davis) to have her department’s certificates reissued with only a signature in English. Apparently Davis took offense, some words were exchanged, and the situation escalated until it finally made the press.

As things unfolded, Fairfax officials, as is their wont, tried simultaneously to play both bully and victim.

We have no particular dog in the hunt, so we seem the appropriate venue to call balls and strikes. And from our perspective, it’s Davis who comes off in the public arena looking like he struck out on three successive pitches.

There was no need for those certificates to have been signed in Chinese in the first place. But more important, when the Herndon police chief brought up the matter, even if she was a bit hot under the collar about it, Fairfax officials should have accommodated her wishes and moved on.