Evidence 101

EVIDENCE 101...Wherever you go, there you are...

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Bomb Nation

Reading is a passion of mine. I am also addicted to book stores. I have not sought any therapy, really, but I constantly feed the need for a good read.
That's my new slogan. I also recently read an excellent book by J.E. Fishman, A Danger To Himself And Others.

Right now, it is featured as a free book on Kindle. What a great offer! It is also available in paperback if you are like me and you like the feel of a book in hand. Pictured above is my tablet, but for some reason, it stopped working with the Kindle app, so no more e-books unless I want to read on my desktop. I was lucky to have a paperback copy.

When I started A Danger To Himself And Others, I have to admit the "voice over" cop humor struck me as a corny beginning introduction to the book. I actually had a flashback of picturing one of my male (yes, male) former military rookies thinking exactly like that (shaking my head). So with that aside, Fishman did capture the male-ego-cop thought process in a sports sense. Yes, being a girl...I rolled my eyes and Fargo smirked right there during the onset. Maybe it's just a girl thing.

The book overall was excellent, filled with suspense and details so descript you felt you were right in each moment, adrenaline pumping alongside the characters. It is full of testosterone and fast paced action. Kudos to Fishman for his writing capabilities and details.

In fact, if you aren't familiar with the inside of a bomb squad, you will be when you have finished reading A Danger to Himself and Others. Fishman has a true talent for capturing moments, especially during a "heat of the moment." The main character, Manny Diaz, is a complex person with years of experience and a personal life that mimics one that goes on behind the shield. It's plausible for sure.

Inside the storyline, you also find attention to technical detail where Fishman's research and the care he gave to writing in proper procedures served well in preserving the importance of capturing all the components. I liked the twists and turns and the villains were not simplified, but also just as complex as the good guys. A nice touch was the characters had surprise moments and everything was not predictable. The emotion of police and military veterans was also believable in the story, which is often left out of or only glanced upon by other authors. A Danger To Himself And Others has action packed depth and I would highly recommend it. Get it on Amazon! You won't be disappointed!

I look forward to the next book in the Bomb Squad NYC series.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Sleep Deprivation Experiment #1

I am interrupting the general program about frisks and searches to bring you the latest kid experiment at the Harry Potter house. Bug had a 9 week science essay/book project that she began at the last minute. Mind you, I didn't know about it being due until Monday of this week. Needless to point out or emphasize, I was not happy about her procrastination. During the week, I told her once to get to working on it. She piddle diddled.

Enter-a back story on Bug as an academic child. She can't have bad grades. Why? Because she is an over-achiever and melts down. I do not put that much pressure on her, but I am somewhat glad she strives for A's and B's. Now, should she ever have gotten D's and F's, I would have a lot to say about that and not keen about being average either. Her dad and me have never had to crack down about how important school is and she naturally has become proud of her work on her own. Maybe it was osmosis. Anymethodofmadness, it's a no brainer for me, so score one for the parents.

Last night about 8:45 pm, I finished my trap shooting and came home to a child whom had stayed home to complete her homework project. I was talking to my mother on the phone when I heard Bug crying and as a somewhat concerned mother, I went downstairs. It was not the bantering scream of pain with drama coiling so I knew she was not injured. It was the drama shaking and kicking on the floor with sobbing type of crying. After asking her several times if she was alright, I had to disconnect early with my mother and tend to my child who needed drama mama love.

I immediately recognized it was a meltdown from the pressure of spinning her wheels on her project, but my mom was on the phone. I had to act like a concerned parent, not a laid back detective type who doesn't get excited much and rolls her eyes at kid drama or grits her teeth through it to prevent from going to jail. It must be hell to be my kid. Perhaps that is a drawback of being a cop parent.

So, after telling her to put her big girl panties on and tell me her issues, she got up and said she just needed a hug. She proceeded to say she could not do her project and was tired and wanted to go to bed, but she was far from being finished. Oh hell to the NO!

Yes, I mean, I gave her a good hug. Bed...no way.

Enter...the mother from hell.

ME: You are going to learn a lesson. You will stay up until this is completed. Sleep deprivation lesson.
BUG: I can't!
ME: You will! I will be on you like stink on skunk. You will know what it is really like to have a mental meltdown. I don't care if we are still up by 3 am.
ME: YES! Now get your big girl panties on and let's move it. If I type up your stuff, you will fold laundry, wash dishes, dust, vacuum, or something productive.
BUG: I am not going to make it! (stomp, whine, cry, ) I have to get a good grade!

Soon, it was all drama. At one point she started to constantly say she was tired and she couldn't do it.

ME: Suck it up. You are going to stay awake. Now glue these into your book. Let's go! This is a lesson to you. Maybe you won't wait until the last minute next time. I don't feel sorry for you. NOW MOVE IT!
BUG: I can't do this! I'm tired! I'm tired!

Yes, at 2:30 am, I lost it with the I'm tired and Fargo flicked her on the head and threw water in her face. I was on my best Army drill sergeant game. At least at that point of getting flicked on the forehead to stop her ranting of nonsense, she laughed. We continued.

It was short lived.

More tantrums. She fell asleep. I poked her. I poked her awake again. And again. She would just plop in the middle of gluing something and putting her book together. Then she said something really STUPID. Yes, STUPID. I was devastated.

In this book, she took time to draw very detailed and beautiful pencil sketches of each animal. I mean, I was very impressed. They are amazing. So here we get to stupid nonsense.

BUG: Mom, do you think my teacher will give me a bad grade and call me lazy because these animals are not in color? I didn't color them.

I can't begin to say what rattled in my head.

ME: Do not even utter those words. Your drawings are art and intricate. You took a lot of care to make those magnificent creatures come alive in your book.
BUG: But what if she does?
ME: Then your teacher is stupid and I will come unglued if that is a reason to mark down your work.
BUG: I just really think she might think I was lazy.
ME: GRRR. Stop it.

Ok. So no profound words of wisdom. Come on, it was almost 3 am. However, I did get my ways included in the book. Bug was too tired and laughed, but this morning she might be worried about what is in the narrative. I may have modified a sentence or two while typing into the early morning hours. Such sentences included inside:

"Rabbits live from 9-12 years old unless they are hit by a bus."

"Although, I have never seen a mountain lion other than in a zoo, my mom has seen several in Wyoming. One time, she watched one make off with her prized chicken."

"Possums have a unique defense of "playing dead" to protect them when they feel threatened. A local possum was especially realistic with this trick after my mom hit it with a shovel in our barn."

"Owls are very watchful and have a keen sense of vision and audio senses even when you think they are resting. They can turn their heads 270 degrees which is almost full circle just as my mom can when she is mad."

Yes, my child's homework got Fargoed.

She did stay up. AND I woke her up 3 hours later, me only getting 2.5 hours of sleep. She was thankful but very tired this morning. Mission accomplished.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Skunked Searches

Hello? (knock, knock) Anyone out there? (tap, tap) Is this thing on?

Fargo here!

The last post on frisks and searches didn't have a rally of words or heated discussion as I had hoped. Don't tell me you are all trading in your intellect (means "mental ability" for you non-academia and "smarts" for you redneck varieties) for knowledge in lieu of squirrel jokes and squirrel sex? Do I need to include cursing?

Maybe we need to bring Dana Carvey back as The Church Lady...one of my favorites:
Or how about The Fruitcake Lady? I have all her episodes, commercial free, on my iPod. Scary, right? Is humor the only thing that stimulates our brain these days?

Well, anyboringtopictime, I guess I will have a chat with myself to keep myself updated on the goings ons with the law. I find laws, procedures, rules...all fascinating. Scary.

Have in mind you only need to keep this knowledge in your memory for about a month before case law or some other court decision changes things up again. In fact, the original documents set down by our founding fathers are getting so diluted today, I get confused. Is the 2nd Amendment abolished yet? Geesh.

A frisk is NOT when the police do away with someone in the car whilst never really stopping-called the snag and drag or the snatch and grab. The Mafia frisked people away, not the PoPo. A police frisk is warranted when there is a safety concern for weapons only. It is not a search for drugs, contraband, or grandma's panties. It is for weapons only. It is done when police detain someone based upon reasonable suspicion. What is reasonable suspicion? The old police academy answer-less than 20%. Hahaha. Police nostalgia makes me laugh. The real answer? Reasonable suspicion is a legal standard of proof which is beneath the standard of proof needed for probable cause. Swallow that as a vitamin. What does that mean? Articulation. What? We bring art into police work?

Now, then enter the "Plain Feel" verbage our justice system has come up with. So, if you feel a bong in the da pants whilst frisking someone, i.e.-checking for a gun, you may retrieve such bong as long as you can articulate from start to finish a detention going into an arrest mode. Articulation has lost many good and proper arrests than anything else, turning them into Supreme Court cases, or offering them up to the Supreme Court for clarification. We, as cops, had to learn how to AR-TICK-U-LATE what we were doing on the street, what we observed, body language, etc. and hone in on our skills. We had to 'splain ourselves a lot better.

(this next paragraph is where I digress into the glory days of cophood)

[i.e. Wilson v. State of Wyoming. Now. I was there during all this. I grew up in law enforcement with this case. Kam was great to work with and shook up the streets. After all, one night in Valley Hills in 1998, when I was chasing a suspect (called for assistance) and got into a fight (rookie mistake not giving out the proper address) all by myself-Officer Ritter came to my assistance and fast. He knew the general residential area I was in because he had just passed me on the street and chatted for about a minute. We were all blacked out that night trying to catch a burglar. All he had to do was stop and listen for the fight and that night you could have heard a pin drop in the neighborhood. And soon enough-there he was. He and I worked on some fun cases and had some fun street stories (those to come another day.) Anydigression, Wilson was his case of a good arsonist snag. He did great. He just didn't articulate as best he usually does and so thus, it went to the Supreme Court. DA Blonigen will even say Officer Ritter did a fine job that night. This might be one of those cases where a detention turned into a seizure and Miranda should have entered the room and other procedures and so forth. ]

Don't get all bad crazy with that court case, it was a defining moment in history where an officer the right thing but it didn't turn out a win for the State.  Read the court definitions and judges' opinions. This case hit home for me how I dealt with people, detained people, and the true visual of "seizure" came into play. It defined things. It is now historical in police case law.

So-back to frisk and search. A search is thorough and systematic. It is a seizure.  Isn't a frisk a search as well? Is a frisk just a speedy search? Is a frisk a seizure?

Get your brain juices flowing. What do you think?

Friday, May 16, 2014

Frisky Business

Frisks and searches. People hate 'em. They are unique to each other, not the same.

Unless you are a criminal, then you are used to the processes. Perps sometimes make a game of it, their lifestyle leads to hide and seek. We are not talking about the salami. Items. Items get hidden.

It is important for one to know Terry v. Ohio in which the term, "stop and frisk" first became coined. These parameters have evolved over time, however, and the standard answer to a rookie answering to what the basis of Terry v. Ohio is a little more detailed than the coin phrase. In fact, common phrase that came from this case was "the Terry stop." Oiks. The sound of "a Terry stop" just sounds like bad policing which stemmed from initially a good case decision. I never used the term. It was bad to do so because it led some to believe cops were profiling, stereotyping.

Then there is the "exclusionary rule". All these coined terms. Coins, coins, coins! Not really making any cents. (Yes, I am being funny. Why? Because I am. However, this is a serious topic).

Case laws, procedures, coined phrases, terms. Cops have to know them on point-impromptu-memorize, memorize.

Terry v. Ohio fascinates me and so have the case laws following thereafter. Like Miranda which has nothing to do with a frisk, but does include freedom to move or arrest and other terms like that, you might be familiar with and hear all the time. But who is Miranda?

Search and seizure and police procedures over the last 15 years, in fact, have grown into a professional and political monster, causing law enforcement to move into a career driven professional realm with certifications, intense training, and continuing education.

So, I'm not going to go into detail yet. What do you think is a proper way for a police officer to search a person during a frisk moment and after arrest? Those are two different points. Think about. I will get back to you.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

You Are Clamping My Style

Nothing irritates me worse than a terrible handshake. Let me tell you, professors and other academia do not know a proper handshake if it were to be demonstrated in a thesis project. What is up with that? I want to Fargo Flip anyone that gives me the wet noodle shake, the clammy fish shake, the finger clamp and go, or the slight of hand. WTF is that anyway? And who teaches someone those bad handshake habits? Do they pull it out of their ass?

When I was a cop, by gum, you got a nice firm handshake and a look in the eye-IF and only IF I chose to shake your hand and did not believe it was unsafe to do so. I did shake people's hands at appropriate times and looked them in the eye, then dropped the eye to the torso. Why? Because it's like basketball. You guard someone on defense by watching the torso in order to anticipate every move prior to the body making it. 

Most times I shook hands, you ask? Yep.  How do I know what qualifies as a "most times"? It's instinct. Believe it or not, I did refuse to shake someone's hand many, many times. It is a safety thing. Cops are often leery about shaking hands in certain instances because it could compromise their safety and puts them in a position for someone to grab their weapon (worst case scenario) or attack them, gain an advantage over the officer.

Cops do not refuse handshakes because they are rude.

So this is all I have to say about handshakes: GET A GRIP.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


It is the season of squirrel sex. Last night I was on my porch during the nice drizzly evening, 80 degrees, and the sun came out for a minute. For that one minute, I observed an abundant amount of  squirrels having sex on my barn roof and on the balcony of the empty house next to mine. I found myself getting INGROSSED ( not engrossed) in their activity. In fact, I am pretty certain I would have been able to write a medical journal research paper on the study.
Have you ever watched squirrels have sex-like lurked at 'em like a stalker type? They are very fast and their recovery rate is very speedy as well. I mean really fast. It's like wrrrrr.wrrrr.wrrrrr. And then they start again. It's like a little motor engine-the kind that doesn't pop or clang, but runs fast and smooth. Think of the noise of a cordless drill. That's IT! That's the commotion motion.
They aren't even nice about it. The boy slams his paw down on the girl's back and says, "Gurl, stop heyah, NOW! I have an urgency." She complies. It's a whorehouse. I would label it: The WhirlHouse if I were a proprietor of squirrel sex.
Urgency is the squirrel version of emergency. In their life, they have no emergencies, they are all actions based off of urges. Urges to eat, urges to have sex, etc. Therefore, they are called urgencies.  
I think they can do the nasty at least a bazillion times a day. There little legs are going as fast as their penis. The girl just lays there or sometimes tries to run away. The thrill of the chase. When the girls are compliant, they appear unamused as if to look at my house and say, "That lady needs to paint her house. I wonder if she will paint it beige."
All that energy expenditure. This might lead to their constant hunt for their nuts. The burning of the calories must be great. I wonder how many calories they burn a minute?

Thwirrels are exhibitionists as they have no qualms about doing it in front of God and everyone. Even if I made fun of them, they went faster. Except, one squirrel boy. He looked at me and gave me the snide little (no pun intended) dickens' snarl as if he was the Darth Vader squirrel-minus the light sabor, then ran off. The squirrel girl was like, "Wha? Wha?" She must have been upset at the quick draw method and sudden disappointment.

I found all this quite entertaining to a point I had to give Bug a commentary and tell her to look. I might have even squinted my eyes while studying the little nymphos. My daughter thought it was gross and I was sick. She went back to writing poems and journal stories with her new markers from The Russian Bear.

I hope she thinks like that until she is 40.

Needless to say after they were finished, I had a sudden urge to have a cigarette.

And I don't even smoke.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Decompression Bag

It's funny how the job never leaves you no matter how much time goes by. The stress and the decompression waves come and go in phases.
The first phase you are still amped up, listening to every bump in the night, watching around every corner, gun at side.
The second phase happened along the time my second marriage also failed, so much of that can be attributed alongside the divorce. Weight gain, weight loss. Mind racing. Emotional roller coasters. I don't like myself in this phase.
The third phase is getting your big girl panties on and dealing with it. The career is over. Regular schedule. New job. Regular parenting duties.
Find something to do. Focus. Next goal. Next step. Future plans. New career. Focus.
Writing, running, gardening, trap shooting, entering grad school. Emotional roller coaster. Lost of identity. Lost and lonely. Leveling of the spirit. Very sad and confused stage, no direction.
The fourth phase is trying to find your Zen. I don't know if I am in this phase or about to enter this phase, but I think I am close to one of those. Yep, it makes sense in my mind. With that...I don't know if any of this post will make sense, but it is coming out right now.
One thing is for certain, my mindset is still in cop mode, although I am well aware I am not one. I am OK with that now.  I can't stop noticing traffic infractions, watching license plates, looking around corners like a paranoid zombie gamer.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I have found myself stirring up the locals by commenting in the hometown newspaper (the other homeland) and being outspoken on The Boogie Man Is My Friend Facebook page:
You can see additional comments and other newspaper articles reference the hub bub on the Facebook page, but this details my comment as "Fargo". My comment was even mildly spoken as you know how I have a tendency to give out in the open, sometimes without diplomacy or tact. If uproar happens over this, I can only imagine what would happen if someone would make a constructive suggestion to THE MAN. Nuclear fallout happened on my Facebook page from the city manager, the former mayor, her husband- a former lieutenant, to several others who defriended me like I had the cyberspace plague.
So with the above background, I am going to lay out some problems I have found over the years with various leaders-which does not discount their effectiveness-just problems I saw festered over a time frame into disgruntled workers, burn out, and loss of morale. Yes, these are MY opinions. You might not agree. It also is a short list so you don't leave me-so don't hate the messenger for not including everything.
1. The numbers game. We all know there are numbers and standards and the old forbidden words of "quotas". Disguise it as fluffy as you like, it all comes down to the numbers game. I refused to play. Sometimes I was substandard in one category or another. Now keep in mind, our standards were very high because an average of all those blue flaming rookies jacked it up there. I just always argued there was more to a cop than traffic tickets. Put a little spotlight on the officer as a whole, anyone can write a ticket. What did not count in your numbers: training recruits, negotiating barricaded subjects, processing crime scenes, interview and interrogation skills, street survival skills, knowledge, experience, communication skills, any specialties, or core concepts. We smarties and wonder brains can read between the lines and know the numbers game is for padding stats. Why? So the chief can justify more officers, more equipment, more staff. Duh. It's about money.
2. Rewards. Awards. No toaster ovens. They don't happen. We joke about it. Over the years cops have said they are not appreciated and have little to no recordings of their "above and beyond." Now "above and beyond" or as we say in law enforcement-commendation letters-are subjective to whoever nominates a person. We had committees, we had supervisors only, we tried everything to be fair and it never was, but it was better than nothing. Enter-officer of year based on numbers only, enter training officer of the year-voted on by training officer peers, enter detective of the year-selected by the detective sergeant and lieutenant. Then these awards bled onto support staff, community members, dispatch, and victim services. It was all done with good intentions, but then it had backlash. I don't think you can make any one department happy and certainly not every officer. There has got to be a better way, I keep thinking to myself by being able to be fair and award the troops, without it being all about the stat monger. Sometimes just a good word from your supervisor or a citizen was a big boost. It didn't always have to be on paper, but that was nice, too. I just wanted my paper awards to be extraordinary and well-deserved. If I ever got one for the most traffic tickets, I might have gritted my teeth and then never done that again. I shouldn't be so harsh. We need all kinds to run the department! I just don't want it to be the only basis for being a good cop.
3. The good ol' boy network. You know what is funny about this term? It happens under EVERY chief, EVERY administration. It isn't always the "old ones". In fact, in the last two administrations, veterans were the castaways. I've come to know the term "good 'ol boy network" refers to the administration favorites-they could be young and they could be veterans. It used to have a different meaning. It has a derogatory connotation like someone is on their knees a lot of their duty time or does nothing to get somewhere. This could be true. You know what? Who gives a fuck. Do your damn job, and who care who likes who and who sucks who's dick. There are times when it is frustrating that a person gets promoted because they are a friend of the chief and maybe weren't the best selection. Sometimes down the road the department reaps what they sow with those types. However, there were minimum standards and testing that got them on the list. Suck it up.
4. Lack of career development. This is the worst of all. If you lack career development and good training paths, you suck as a department. You stagnate. You have inexperience overriding common sense and knowledge. Often times this bleeds onto veterans because the department doesn't want to invest in anyone over the age of 15. TRUE STORY. Such short sighted thinking. I tried to drill home the importance of all this but it fell on deaf ears. This above all else pissed me off to flying off the handle. I did that at home, well sort of, kind of. OK. Sometimes, I let my supervisor know that was a crock of shit.
5. Dismissing the average police officers.  You are only as good as your dumbest officer. Make these people rise up. Help them move up in training, strengths, career development, skill sets, or make them move out. How hard is that. Don't brush them under the rug. Don't keep putting them in the corner either. Make them tow the rope or walk the plank.
6. Not taking care of personnel issues. OK. So your cop gets in a bar fight-what do you do? So your training officer sleeps with their rookie-what happens? You have a cop get a DUI-what now? You have a cop constantly having domestic issues and family fights-what do you do? You have a cop who is unprofessional on a call or in a public setting and a complaint arises-what is the method of dealing with such complaints? You have a cop get accused of immoral behavior on and off duty-what next? You have a cop whosteals, does drugs-what does the department do as an action plan? What happens when you have a cop get drunk at the county park or lake and fires off his or her weapon in a drunken rage into the air as a joke-what happens?Now some of these cases you terminate the person. I bet you would be surprised how each are handled and why it is subjective and not policy. Also, several policies are created because of these occurrences and often because of police rules and regulations you can't terminate. More today than yesterday, these acts may be the result of someone getting terminated, but I can tell you, I know cops whose careers have survived through these things. Some even got promoted. Fuck up, you move up. You know you've heard those terms. It is a result of someone surviving if they are part of the good 'ol boy network or not. Here's what I think. You have a set of standards. You fall off the set standards and rules, you are gone, you are disciplined, or you abide by the consequences set. NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE. I never did understand why some got away with things and some didn't even if it was the same issue. I did understand it came from poor management decisions and some things fall under counsel versus discipline or both. Some of this would fall under Internal Affairs. If this part of your department is cutthroat or weak, you have a problem. You have to find middle ground, fairness, and face the fact that the department's liability comes before your best friend's job and feelings. If they screwed up, they have to pay the piper.

"I'm a leader, not a follower. Unless it's a dark place and then you're going first." Have you heard that before? Although funny, it does ring true with "those types". I know you know some.
7. Keeping the officer down. This is the theory that a department supervisor or administration does not want anyone to excel and they need to stay average. What, you say? Yes, it happens. They don't want you to reach for the stars, excel at what you do, or market a set of skills or training to outside agencies, but just keep it all in-house. It doesn't make sense. It is really narrow minded and stifles a law enforcement career, plus blows the revenue generating possibilities. There is another side. What if you have a supervisor who doesn't want you to be better than him or her? Yikes. Ego problems. I know this sounds crazy, but it has happened more than once in my career under different administrations and/or supervisors and I have seen it with other level employees-i.e. dispatchers, support staff, officers as well. I dont' get it. Make your people better than you are. Rise them up. It benefits the organization. I have seen departments who are light years above others because of the career development and investment they put into their people.
8. NOT listening and close mindedness. Things fall on deaf ears if the ears don't want the idea generation. A chief cannot simply be right or an effective leader all of the time without input from the bottom up. Closed ears have closed minds. Along these same lines are supervisors who forgot how to get their hands dirty. Once in a while it was nice to see the lieutenant get out on the street on a call and be your backup, or even take over the call. Funniest thing was when one of the chiefs I worked under asked for assistance on a traffic stop. He was pissed off and said, "Davison, I need a fucking traffic ticket. This mother-fucker is dangerous and I have had it. I was on my way home, but I had to pull him over." I handed the chief the ticket and watched him struggle to fill it out and ask me questions. (((EVIL GRIN))) I also had respect for him that he did that. When the boss is down in the trenches with you, they can see better with their vision. I'm not talking about their eyes.
9. Using sub par equipment, letting vests go outdated. My department did remedy this issue, but I have seen many departments float by on crap equipment. Some officers take it upon themselves to buy the equipment they need to do the job, but the department should supply them with duty specific needs. Our department really stepped up its game with equipment in the 2000s. There is always room for improvement, but I felt properly equipped. If there was a gap, I bought what I needed. It's pretty bad when nearby departments look at each other and one wants to hand over their used gear to the brother because his is so worn and not functioning it's pitiful. Duct tape is a clue.
10. Peyton Place. Public Affairs. Rumors. Immoral behavior abounding. We are all  IMperfect and many fall from grace during our life for one thing or another. However, when the personal mistake has festered and becomes a  problem within an organization and it affects the job, it needs to be squashed. How do you keep people's pants on? Rule Number 1 I told my rookies: "Don't dip the pen in the company ink."
I suffered from frustration and burn out at times. It will catch up to everyone that stays in the job long enough. It is up to a strong person to make that a temporary issue and not a permanent fixture. I always spoke my mind, then moved on if it didn't do any good. I did not become overcome with all the eternal bitterness that eats up some. OH, yes, there were days and weeks I was a cannonball at work or inside my mind at the ding bat shit that goes on in a department. It saddens me to see someone get so bitter, especially if it is a good cop that they just can't put aside the internal garbage that gets thrown around the department. A conclusion can be drawn from this in a positive sense, those that get frustrated or burned out are cops that are invested in the job and care about their career and the department. Some supervisors are too dense to see that part of the negativity.
What would you add to this list? How does a department counteract negative press?

"Leadership is about creating, day by day, a domain in which we and those around us continually deepen our understanding of reality and are able to participate in shaping the future. This, then, is the deeper territory of leadership--collectively 'listening to what is wanting to emerge in the world, and then having the courage to do what is required.'"
-Joseph Jaworski

Maybe we all need to give each other more hugs...


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Cops and Organizational Dogs

When does an internal war signify the failure of an organization, or the deterioration of a management system and justify a new beginning? The answer: It depends. Another answer: Sometimes during the changing of the guard when there is opposition or resistance to the new change. Most of the time it is a rough transition which smooths out later.

Wars occur for many reasons, usually over religion and land, and in law enforcement organizations.  Yes, wars inside law enforcement. Now, mind you, they don't bring the swords out of the scabbards as was done in ancient Roman times, but modern day closeness to the idea.

Maybe when wars occur within an organization like a police department, union, or similar organism, it shows the structure was on a weak foundation or the exact opposite and those within are trying to hold on. It could also be a mixture of both coming from two groups of thought amongst the employees: those that are unhappy, unsatisfied with leadership and those that are more afraid of what is to come, but not totally satisfied with everything from the previous reign. I guess you could also add a small portion of those that were happy with things the way they were, so make it three points of view.  All of that is up to interpretation of those within and the interpretation could be varying.

Great leaders carry a nation, an army,  or an organization into FORWARD motion with vision. Ineffective leaders stagnate a band of people which often leads to upheaval, discord, and ultimately failure. Failures derive from a leader who over manages, under leads, or displays both, and that is only touching the surface of their ineffective leadership style or methods. Degrees and intelligence do not make a leader smart nor effective.

Daniel Goleman coined the term "emotional intelligence" in his book which became a study guide in the business world read by many in management striving to attain the book's very ingenious points. They really were revolutionary at the time and became reference material. They were revolutionary because they were kind of warm and fuzzy, directing those leading their employees to take a softer approach and have some empathy, social skills. What? You don't need to graduate from an Ivy League school to get to the top? You have to be a person with "emotional intelligence"? You don't have to have the best technical skills to run the place?

Goleman defined emotional intelligence into 5 subgroups: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill. If you want more, you should read the book. Wrapping all these components up, an effective leader would have all of them and would also not be afraid to motivate his/her people to be greater in their line of work than he/she is themselves. I believe they also have to be visionaries and be able to carry out the process of moving forward in POSITIVE motion.

In law enforcement, one of our greatest motivational speakers is Lt. Col. Dave Grossman (retired) and his reinforcement of the sheepdog and it's selflessness but alert nature. This applies to street survival. Add all that into law enforcement and try to effectively manage a bunch of egos toting guns. Yep. It's like having kidney stones.

I have seen my share of great leaders and very bad. I have also seen some good things willy-nilly in all of them, but the entire package was not desirable as a whole. Finding a perfect leader really is like finding a needle in the haystack. It is rare. Not all will ever be happy with one leader as a whole, but some parts may feel positive for the most part about certain leaders. It is subjective. If the majority are satisfied with a leader and suffer no major discord, you may move forward with some successes. Divided, you will fall. It's a lot like Humpty Dumpty.

The beauty of democracy is the voice of people. Sometimes it doesn't matter if employees agree with management, it is the fact they have positive productivity and respect for their leader. They will work for the person in charge despite their personal feelings toward him or her. Law enforcement is supposed to work for the greater good. How many of us in law enforcement didn't like our chief, but worked hard anyway? A leader doesn't have to be liked.

Pride and a hard work ethic are also paramount. Great leaders will clean up the messes and take care of the problems, but maybe not in the way we on the underneath would like to see or believe it should happen. Perhaps some will slide through and others will be hit hard. It really isn't about fairness either. Life isn't fair, for Pete's sake.

Lao Tzu said, "Be the chief, but never the lord." This statement echoes in law enforcement and truly is the heart of a chief's position. It's my blog. It's my opinion.

Why are there uprising in departments? Corruption? Discord? Morale problems? Why are the nonconforming picked on, pushed out? Is it always the bad egg? Is it the one that doesn't fit in? Is the one that refused to be bullied and is selfless?

What hurts any organization is leaving the poison there to fester,  promoting incompetence, or promoting a poisonous leader. We all have different viewpoints of what poison is and incompetence, for that matter. Incompetence doesn't mean they are a bad cop, it means they can't lead.

Lead. That doesn't means control anymore. It has a different tone. It has depth.

What defines a great leader to you? What qualities do you admire in a great leader?