PLEA Bargain?

Phoenix cops are questioning the relationship between their union president and Ford

"Did Ford buy the PLEA president's plane ticket to the New York hearing on the safety of the Crown Victoria?" one question read.

"No," was the answer. "Jake paid for the ticket out of his personal funds."

That raised new questions: Why hadn't PLEA paid for the trip, if Jacobsen was traveling on union business? Was he expecting to be reimbursed by Ford or someone else?

The Q&A "pushed us over the edge," the officers wrote. "Jake has forced us to set the record straight in a public forum. . . . We believe that Jake Jacobsen is a good person and we recognize and thank him for all of his efforts. However, as long as he is the PLEA president, we will not support him or PLEA."

But it wasn't until September 5 (after the Chapman/Schechterle letter went out) that Jacobsen came clean, in a confessional column published in the PLEA newsletter.

In the column, titled "Learning the Hard Way," Jacobsen admitted he hadn't been forthcoming about bearing the costs of the trip:

"In that regard, as we have previously reported, I personally paid for the trip and lodging. However, it should be added that PLEA initially paid for the trip and lodging with the expectation of reimbursement from Ford. After my return, I made the decision to personally absorb this cost."

As for working with Schechterle on the fire-panel installation as promised, Jacobsen conceded, "I failed to do so. Since these mistakes, I have continued to look for improvements to the [Crown Vic], and I will continue to call for Ford to take responsibility for its failures. In the same manner, here I take responsibility for my own failures."

Jacobsen concluded by saying he had learned "hard lessons" in recent months, "and I hope I can count on your support even while admitting my mistakes . . ."

E-mail paul.rubin@newtimes.com, or call 602-229-8433.

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