Oodles and oodles of white noise (yes white, but nothing to do with race) surrounds each department. What am I talking about? Administrative pressures. Some pressures are caused by the societal geniuses and crowds of like thinkers which I call the latest and greatest "white noise." You can't ignore it. You can't shut it off. They might be right. They might be wrong. You may be right. I may be crazy. But it just may be a lunatic you're looking for. Thank you, Billy Joel.
However, it is still noise no one can ignore. I'm going to tackle just a few of those issues today and wrap my OPINION around it. Why? Because it's my blog. You can agree, disagree, or discuss, ask questions, click off, or all of the above. I welcome it because we only get better with healthy communications.
- High Risk Personnel
- Every department has them.
- They are the employees who are in the organization are walking a fine line of justice, "dirty", "corrupted", or just a mess personally.
- Perhaps...going lower on the totem pole...they are even good cops, but they have volatile personal problems.
- What about officers with drinking problems?
- Maybe they are "punchy", wavering on situations of excessive force, and rude to the public.
- Some of these types of officers might even be a liability waiting to happen such as "dating their victims", "coming on or sleeping with people they contact while in uniform", "dipping the pen in the company ink", "sleeping with their training recruits."
- And the extreme is corruption.
- This topic encompasses all high risk behaviors on and off duty.
- Fitness for Duty
- As a society, do you think it is important for an officer to be physically and mentally fit for duty? Yes. I agree. Absolutely. There is no other answer.
- Now, in this day and age, it is imperative for life and street survival.
- Don't be a slouch. Put down the donut. Get active.
- You can't afford to die because you are fat and if you are trying to save me and fail because you are fat, I am going to haunt you. It won't be pretty.
- Character and Integrity Issues
- It's not just enough to be a good officer and enforce laws fairly, but you must have the utmost character and integrity. Why settle for anything else in yourself? Why would an organization settle for anything else in an officer?
- You know, it really isn't that hard. If you think on the fence, you should not be a cop.
- Organizations cannot afford to have slackers with poor character traits and integrity issues.
- Recently, one of my detective friends retired and I am going to share some of his words which are taken from an email he sent to all his colleagues before his final day of duty. He and I think alike. I have permission to reprint it, in case you were wondering.
- Developments in Force Management
- Wow. With new coin phrases like "going full Ferguson" and whatnot, do you think the issues here are going wild behind the scenes? Yep. It's getting ugly.
- What will be allowed, not allowed? Hmm. Sit and wait.
- It all comes down to liability and what the department wants to fork out, what the courts allow, industry standards, norms, reasonable force necessary, etc. What slice of pie do you want?
- Society does not accept our use of force continuum.
- Society expects warning shots and shooting guns and weapons out of suspects' hands.
- Unrealistic expectations from the public and government officials.
- Society expects cops to be psychics and clairvoyants when it comes to human behavior and to know what a person will or will not do with a weapon.
- Society should expect people to get shot who advance with a weapon or brandish a weapon with actions toward an officer or pose a public threat. Duh.
- Negligent Hiring, Retention, and Supervision
- The hammer is coming down.
- If you think you can "hire sloppy", retain problem officers, and fail to supervise your troops properly...guess again.
- Vicarious liability and supervision failures will cause the public and the feds to hang your head on the highest tree.
- The pressure as a police supervisor or administrator just multiplied exponentially.
- Be ready to take the heat for all or rein them in.
- Making supervisors accountable is happening not only by the Chiefs and Sheriffs directives, but the Feds as well. It should be the norm of the job, not a new shiny policy and training module.
- Your liability for failure to discipline and properly supervise is also going to be actionable against you.
- Good supervisors will be great leaders and all that will trickle downward into an exemplary team of officers.
- Shit supervisors are going to raise poop troops and be on national television.
- Low Cost-High Yield Training Initiatives
- Yeah. We want the best trained officers possible but for free. No one has the proper training budget. What now? Training is on the forefront of reformation. Doing more with less will be the latest and greatest coin phrase not only applicable to training, but the entire gamut of police work. Wait. It's been that way for years. Why do we expect so much with so little and then do not want to put money into quality police forces? Shazam. I don't get it. Never will.
- Invest in your people. Throw education and training at them and watch them grow.
- Morale boosts. Incentive programs like working well and physical fitness incentives.
- Specialty pay.
- What do you think?
- Building and Maintaining Duty and Honor Values
- This shouldn't be something new. This should be carved into the forehead of every officer. Duh. Where did it go to resurface as a new concept?
- Avoiding Ethnic and Sexual Harassment
- Keep your penis in your pants. Don't walk around penis first. Get your head in the game. Keep your vagina out of the work place and off the centerfolds. End of story.
- Physical Readiness Programs and Standards
- Absolutely we need standards. We need performance tests. They need to be fair and realistic. You might want Olympians, but you need to be fair. Give your troops the equipment and training they need to succeed. Keep them healthy.
- Performance Requirements vs. Quotas
- Blah. Blah. Blah. Fluff. Smoke screens. There have been quotas disguised as "performance standards" for years. There are quotas. Yo mama is fat and you cannot lie.
- You have to have some type of number to judge your average performance level from. The problem is it makes supervisors lazy. They should know if their guys or gals are performing up to par or excelling in their field. They should also be able to measure which ones have emotional intelligence and make sound decisions which is far more important than 3 traffic tickets a day.
- How do you measure specialties, special assignments, and veteran knowledge?
- Pull your heads out of your asses.
- Improving Human and Community Relations
- Well, as if we didn't see this coming years before the USA blew up itself, imploding racial tensions and unfair treatment all over the land. Police chiefs should have been on top of this earlier when they slipped from community policing tactics to reactive policing. The way of the streets changed and so fast, the administrators were sitting with their thumbs up their asses.
- I hear from several who believe it is the new generation of cops which have changed the world and more and more ex-military are creating the problem. Bullshit. It is true our pool of candidates is low and many don't cut the mustard, but that is a scapegoat. It is true ex-military become cops because it is similar...paramilitary organization and they thrive in that environment. Don't hate on soldiers.
- The problem is quality training, money, technology, equipment, and time. You can't sit around in Lah Lah Land when the world changes around you and you don't adapt to the needs.
- The public wants transparency, yet police work is secret. You have to find a balance. Keep them informed, yet don't give away your investigations.
- Make your officers community involved...humanize them...give back...talk to the people...be "officer friendly badass." Plus...the community helps out with information when they trust the troops. It's a win win.
- The wonder brains didn't develop community policing in the 70's for no reason, they were on to something.
- Defining Supervisory Expectations
- Lazy supervisors suck.
- Shitty supervisors suck.
- Great leaders surround themselves with great leaders and even some who are better leaders than themselves. Does that make sense?
- Keep them on task.
- Keep them accountable. You might have to discipline or terminate your friend. Can you do it?
- You might have to know the laws backward and forward, policies backward and forward, and ethics upside down, etc. Are you smart enough? Longevity doesn't make you a good supervisor.
- Raise the bar.
- Stripes and Stars? Yep...they are heavy...carry them well or leave them for someone who can hack it.
- An Evaluation System that Actually Works
- Hello. We have been screaming for this since the beginning of time.
- Why is it so hard and why haven't they come up with a process yet? There are skewed numbers and pretty pie charts for everything, but no fair and qualitative evaluation system which works? Whiskey-tango-foxtrot!?! Police work is not rocket science, but it is a profession of high standards.
Photo Credit: Pinterest
And now...a few parting words from Wes Gudahl...(I have shortened the entire letter and taken pieces out to share):
I know everyone tries to leave with humorous, or caustic remarks. I would like to impart five things I have learned over the years as my final words. Some of you will read this, roll your eyes and move on, however, I hope some of you will be encouraged to press on, so for you, here goes:
First - Don’t buy the lie that Quality is better than Quantity when it comes to spending time with your loved ones. Quantity produces quality! Remember your family comes first and foremost, this means the commitment to your marriage as well as your children. Being married is hard work as is rearing children! Get off the couch, away from the TV, work at your relationship with your loved ones! Stay away from self-indulgence, self-centeredness, and self-absorption. Live for others, spend your energy and efforts wisely, invest in your family and the relationship with your spouse. In all of the funerals I have been the minister for I have never had family upset about their loved ones not writing that last citation, or making that last arrest. But I have heard repeatedly the longing to spend just one more minute with their loved one, one last conversation, one last laugh, one last hug, one last kiss.
Second – I believe as first responders we lose our innocence so the citizens can keep theirs. Because of this I also believe it is important to remember the God who created you. Our spiritual outlook can sometimes anchor us when the situations we encounter seem evil and we see the evil that men do to each other. Stay grounded spiritually, get involved with a church, bible study, etc. Not only do you meet good people but studies tell us those who have a positive spiritual grounding live longer. In our profession we can get pretty sour and sometimes angry at God. Yet, if you choose to believe in God, you realize in the beauty and the pain of creation is His allowance for mankind to make a choice. After all, He did not create us to be robots. Some make evil and reprehensible choices. You get to protect society from them! Others make wise and wonderful decisions and we get the opportunity to encourage them.
Third – The greatest trust the American people can give is for us to uphold the laws they have enacted. We protect the innocent and those who cannot protect themselves. Sometimes this is frustrating, irritating, and feels hopeless. However, we never let down. Wojo (CPD Officer Jim Yurkiewicz) told me a long time ago “You have the power to change someone’s life forever.” I have never forgotten those words. Use that power wisely. If someone vents, or is angry at the situation, let them. Never trade safety; but if the victim/witness needs to vent at you, who cares? If your skin is that thin you’re already in the wrong career field. PLEASE, it does not have to be an “us against them” mentality. Make friends with non-law enforcement, spend time with them. Realize there are good people out there and re-invigorate yourself with their company and their perspectives. It will make you better at being a cop and make you a better, more complete, person.
Fourth - Treat your partners, the department, and the public with respect and professionalism. We don’t always have to agree and sometimes respecting someone is hard but we don’t have the excuse not to be professional. Respect and professionalism are important elements. When we treat others with professionalism, regardless of how they respond to us, only then can we truly respect ourselves. Even if you don’t care for your fellow officer, respect does not let your fellow officer fail or fall. Respect stands up and strives to help build for success. Respect takes pride when others succeed and does not strive for self-adulation. Respect and professionalism are part of a team concept not a self-serving concept. I guess when I look in the mirror the person looking back needs to know no matter how the other person treated me, I did, and will, treat them with professional respect.
Fifth - Educate yourself. Never stop reading, bettering your technique and honing your skills. Learn from others; it is amazing how anyone can teach something even if it’s how not to do it! Solicit advice and input from people who respect you enough to be painfully truthful regardless of the outcome. Evaluate, open the door for constructive review which can only make you better at your tasks. Don’t be afraid to defend your position but know the balance. Open and honest review with a healthy discussion makes yesterday’s mistakes tomorrow’s successes. Teach and pass on your lessons, don’t keep them to yourself; help others. The citizens, your fellow officers, and you, deserve the best you can possibly be so NEVER stop LEARNING.
You are all part of an honorable profession, one that I no-longer have the opportunity to participate in. I envy each one of you. I know I have not been perfect and if I have offended any of you please forgive me. I have been blessed with my time here at CPD and have enjoyed working with my fellow officers, dispatchers, office administration, services, victim services, property evidence, CSO’s, and DA’s. As a Team we have put really bad guys in jail and made a small part of our world a better place. Don’t lose heart. If I can ever be of a service to you, if you want to talk, shoot the breeze, or need a place to stay please don’t hesitate to call. I will look forward to seeing you.
I leave you with this proverb “When justice is done it brings joy to the righteous but, terror to the evil doers” (Proverb )