Mercer County Sheriff Kevin Larkin has betrayed the public trust, and must resign from office.
Reports indicate that the sheriff interrupted a political science class at nearby Mercer County Community College when he learned that the professor, Michael Glass, made remarks about him that Larkin claimed were erroneous.
It appears that Prof. Glass’ comments were completely accurate. But even if they hadn’t been — even if Glass had viciously slandered Larkin’s character without substantiation — the sheriff’s behavior would still be shockingly inappropriate. In fact, it has demonstrated that he is not fit for elected office.
Glass, teaching a State and Local Politics course, mentioned Larkin as an example of a New Jersey official who was “double-dipping” — or receiving public pension payments and a public salary at the same time. According to Glass, Larkin makes approximately $200,000 per year from these combined sources of income.
One of the students in the class, who happened to work in Larkin’s office, texted the sheriff about what the professor had said.
Stunningly, Larkin himself showed up to the classroom later that night, interrupting what was otherwise an ordinary class session. He asked Prof. Glass to step into the hallway. Shortly after, with Larkin lurking beside him, Glass apologized to the class for apparently misrepresenting something about the sherrif’s finances.
So let’s get this straight: Mercer County Sheriff Kevin Larkin forcibly interrupted a college class to dispute a claim the professor had made about his salary and pension. Where do we begin? First, it is clear Larkin attempted to shamelessly intimidate Prof. Glass. As the top law enforcement official in the county, he suddenly appeared to demand an apology for something said under the auspice of academic freedom. This is nothing less than schoolyard-level bullying.
No less, this is a blatant abuse of office. This is an infringement upon the right to freely criticize public officials in college classrooms. In fact, there is so much flagrantly wrong with this situation that Larkin must tender his resignation immediately.
If there is to be any dignity left in the office to which he was elected, the sheriff will oblige.