Editorials

Orange is the new blue for thieving former cop who got 40 years

Security footage captures ex-Edwardsville cop stealing from salon

Surveillance footage from Dec. 21, 2014 at Reality Salon & Spa, which captured then-Edwardsville Police Officer Brian Barker in the act of burglarizing the salon. Barker eventually admitted to a string of burglaries going back 15 years, including
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Surveillance footage from Dec. 21, 2014 at Reality Salon & Spa, which captured then-Edwardsville Police Officer Brian Barker in the act of burglarizing the salon. Barker eventually admitted to a string of burglaries going back 15 years, including

Brian Barker was a thief for 15 of his 18 years as an Edwardsville police officer. Blame the alcohol, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and his dead prostitute sister molesting him.

Or just blame Barker. The psychologist said even with Barker’s mental issues he still knew right from wrong.

Barker received the maximum 40-year sentence for stealing so much from so many that investigators had to rent a storage locker to hold it all. They said his house looked like Walmart.

He took from businesses, a church and even fouled his own nest — stealing from neighbors. The salon owner who caught him on video was so shaken that she took a $50,000 loss on her building and moved to Glen Carbon, where she felt safe.

Beyond all that, he hurt the 60 officers of the Edwardsville Police Department and the trust that is critical to keeping them and the community safe.

“We have 60 people working for decades to build a great reputation, and one person has damaged that,” Edwardsville Police Chief Jay Keeven said.

Barker’s attorney questioned why a police officer should be held to a higher standard. Humans make mistakes and police officer are human, he argued.

Well, Jane Q. Public does not take an oath to protect and to serve her community at the risk of her personal well-being. Regular humans are not entrusted with the ability to use deadly force.

While tempted to criticize our justice system for sentencing Barker to 40 years when he is only likely to serve 20, there is the fact that 20 years for a former cop will certainly feel like 40. Barker’s betrayal deserves it.

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