Honor, Integrity, Respect

I still have my challenge coin that was given to me by a chief who felt that the department needed to be reminded of their oath.  I said it then and I will say it now, if I need a coin to remind me to do what is right, I need to find a new job!  I stand by that thought today as we see our department crumbling around us. The officers who continue to do real police work around this department are the ones who truly exemplify “honor” within the ranks.  They continue to work even though the department will discipline them for just doing their jobs. We have seen this several times recently with heavy discipline for chases.  The department was unable to find them in violation of the chase policy, so they hit them with “incident management”.  IAD is partially correct, it is management. The chase policy is so watered down that no one knows what to do. The general order is 16 pages long and no one can understand, how fast is too fast?  Just Sunday there was a street take over in Southeast and a suspect hit a police car and fled.  The supervisor refused to allow anyone to chase the suspect.  This truly makes me angry, but I can not blame the Sergeant as she would end up relieved of duty and looking at heavy handed discipline if the vehicle crashes or anyone gets hurt.

The second tenant of our challenge coin is integrity. Who truly believes this right now in our department? We see Assistant Chiefs demoted without a fair and impartial investigation.  We have a Chief who admitted that he knew about cases being cleared in 2021 without being investigated. What actions did he take to make sure it did not continue?  He told an EAC to fix it, but did he call for an investigation?  Did he form a special unit to go back and look at old unworked cases?  Did he follow up with his EAC’s and confirm that it was fixed?  Did he make sure general orders and standard operating procedures were corrected? Real integrity is admitting when you have made a mistake. Many of our officers do this but are not given any grace for having the integrity to admit when they are wrong. They are instead given discipline, and usually heavy-handed discipline.  Our Commander in Chief has failed to accept any responsibility for making a mistake.  Where is the integrity that is supposed to start at the top? Will this current internal investigation find any fault with the Chief?

Finally, let’s talk about respect.  Respect for our officers, respect for our rank structure, and respect for our citizens. Respecting our citizens starts with being honest with them. I have done several interviews and believe it is important to be completely honest with the public.  I have heard several times in press conferences from the department, that we will be totally transparent.  HONESTY is TRANSPARENCY!  There is no way that our department can research and supplement two hundred and sixty thousand cases.  We need to be honest with the public and explain it. I believe that most will understand and respect the transparency from our administration.  When it comes to the rank structure, that is a different story.  Currently the investigation into the SL clearance code has focused on Commanders and the two demoted Assistant Chiefs.  Why would Internal Affairs be asking questions of Commanders and not Assistant Chiefs?  Why are Commanders the ones who have been neutered the last few years?  Commanders cannot determine the days off for specialized units., They cannot approve anyone going to a method B position without approval of an Assistant Chief. They cannot recommend discipline without approval of an Assistant Chief.  It is hard to understand or respect a rank when you have never held that rank.

The working officers of this department deserve to be respected as they go out and do MORE with LESS every day.  This is why, I will continue to call out those decisions that are made at the top affecting the morale of the officers in this department.

 

Published April 3, 2024

Author Doug Griffith, HPOU President