When I was in the military, it was clear to me that regulations and standards ruled the day.

But I was a bit of a know-it-all and I'll admit that I initially shunned much of that. Later, I caught on. It was clear the "method to the madness" was critical when things became dangerous. To ensure the safety of their troops, leaders needed to count on them to follow the rules.

I bring this up because of the flurry of conversations about our blessed city and the only topic that seems to prompt lively debate beyond the national election. The hot item: Cincinnati Police Chief James Craig's refusal to take the state peace officer exam.

Let me start with this: I think the Chief is doing a great job.

The statistics show that his leadership, along with the awesome efforts of those in uniform are making our city, and thus the region, a place we are proud to call home. I won't forget the photograph in the Enquirer last year showing the Chief walking away from a crime scene in a flowing leather jacket. It looked as if it were taken from a movie trailer. A strong officer of the law leading not from an office, but from the street. Cool indeed.

Unfortunately, the Chief's refusal to take the test required of all incoming officers has ramifications beyond the test itself. It can be seen as a "do as I say, not as I d' and it could lead to perceptions that the Chief is not in this for the long haul.

That's obviously not something that the Mayor and City Manager hoped to have happen the first time that we looked outside the ranks and the area for new leadership. However, both have been quoted as supporting the Chief's continued fight.

That was a bad decision by both from the start. Now that the state commission has refused to grant the Chief a waiver, their continued support seems counter-productive, in my opinion, to creating a strong leadership team. Perceptions of cronyism can take hold "” even if that is far from reality.

Chief Craig: All signs point to you making great strides to eliminating many obstacles to making the community safer. Another great leader, Lt. Col. George Custer, unfortunately decided that Little Bighorn was where he would take an unwavering stand. Opt to lose this little skirmish to win big for our city and our region.