This is a letter to the editor from Bill Demo, City of Ithaca. To submit opinion letters, please review our letters policy here and submit them to Managing Editor Thomas Giery Pudney at

The dismissal of Officer Barksdale for investigatory failures over a 10 year period raises a number of deeply troubling questions.

How could this failure have occurred over such a long timeframe without questions being raised sooner about such serious lapses?

Was there no chain of command that provided simple oversight and accountability within the department?

What changes in policies and procedures are being put in place to preclude such lapses of oversight and accountability in the future?

Will the department provide follow-up information about the resolution of the many cases that were left pending?

How was this officer able to receive numerous plaudits and awards including at least one that cited her commitment to ending sexual abuse and human trafficking when she apparently neglected to adequately investigate 200 cases, 80 of which were said to be potential sex crimes?

Is the report from the New York State Division of Human Rights the last word with regard to the officer’s allegations of discrimination and racism within the department?

Does the IPD have the resources it needs to carry out a multitude of community policing initiatives and still do basic law enforcement and provide for public safety?

These questions and more cry out for honest answers from leadership within IPD and Ithaca city government.

Bill Demo

City of Ithaca