‘Bad Boy’ karaoke earns cop pink slip
Only in Palisade.
Here, the unusual confluence of karaoke and police work has become talk of the town and stirred civic involvement.
Mark Bartholomew, a doorman at The Livery Saloon, said petitions calling on the Palisade Police Department to reinstate Officer Edward Reinhardt are still circulating with about 70 signatures to date. Petitions are to be presented at a to-be-determined meeting of the town board, he said.
Reinhardt was fired by the Police Department in the aftermath of an incident May 23 at The Livery, when he took to the microphone and performed a karaoke song. Witnesses interviewed by the Daily Sentinel said Reinhardt sang an impromptu, and well-received, rendition of “Bad Boys,” the theme song for the television show, “Cops.”
Reinhardt declined to be interviewed for this story, citing advice of his attorney.
Others who witnessed the events of May 23 — a well-attended night of karaoke at The Livery — said they won’t forget it anytime soon and they’re dumbfounded it cost Reinhardt his job.
“He took a couple minutes to show himself to be a human being instead of a robot with a badge and gun,” Bartholomew said. “I’ve never heard applause like that in all the years we’ve been doing this.”
Running 9 p.m. to midnight Fridays, karaoke night commonly brings officers to the bar to perform a “walk through,” a simple show of force.
“It settles things down and serves its purpose,” Bartholomew said.
Around 11 p.m. on May 23, Reinhardt and a second officer made their way through the bar as several patrons offered encouragement to try their hand at karaoke. When his partner left out the front door, Reinhardt took the microphone.
Witnesses said while singing, the officer took out his handcuffs and gestured a playful warning for the “Bad Boys.”
“I’ll tell you, everybody went crazy,” said Anna Reynolds, “It was such good public relations. I was shocked to hear he’d get fired over something like that.”
From the perspective of the bar witnesses, nothing in Reinhardt’s performance could have been painted as inappropriate or disrespectful.
“It’s not like he was twirling his shirt over his head,” Bartholomew said. Later that night, Reinhardt’s partner and Palisade Police Chief Tony Erickson returned and demanded surveillance video from the bar.
Reinhardt, a certified officer in Colorado since 1989, was told to turn in his badge and gun that same night. He was hired April 1 as a seasonal employee from the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office.
Erickson said he couldn’t discuss a personnel matter in detail, but defended the firing.
“I wish Ed well,” he said. “This is not part of the job I enjoy but it was something that needed to be done.”
While Bartholomew and others say Reinhardt’s song was positive public relations work for the police department, Erickson isn’t sold.
“My definition of community relations is on another level,” Erickson said. “And my expectations for performance and professionalism in rebuilding this agency are very high.”
Reynolds and company have their own expectations for small town policing.
“Everybody loved it,” she said of Reinhardt’s song. “Especially in a small town, you get to know your police officers.”