Not doing Pennsylvania public’s business

The Patriot News had a story on Monday about state police Commissioner Jeffrey Miller’s travels at taxpayer expense, featuring a quote by Matt Brouillette stating that Miller was “not doing Pennsylvania public’s business” and taxpayer should not be help liable for these costs.

Needless to say, Col. Miller is a bit ticked off, and has responded with an open letter to the editor, calling out both the Patriot News and Brouillette. Of course, Miller is wrong and we are right.

  • Miller claims it is his obligation to educate other law enforcement agencies on the lessons learned. Yet it is hardly the obligation of Pennsylvania taxpayers to fund the education of other states’ police. In the same manner, we should not expect the taxpayers of VA to pay for the information we get from those involved in the VA Tech tragedy.
  • Miller’s example of another agency sharing information without billing PA taxpayers is the FBI, but Miller seems to forget that PA taxpayers fund the FBI – paying federal taxes – and the FBI is expected to provide services to Pennsylvania residents.
  • Miller remarks, “If another agency anywhere in the country can save just one life by learning from our experiences, I would argue that the residents of the commonwealth have been well served.” That sounds hard to argue with … but I will. If the “Pennsylvania public’s business” is defined as any expense that can save a life anywhere, Pennsylvania taxpayers could be held liable for millions, even billions, to send thousands of police to every corner of the world?
  • Finally, Miller’s defense mentions only his trips to law enforcement training. He fails to mention multiple trips to Harvard University for an executive leadership program that the Patriot News highlights, including three separate flights to Boston in 8 days.